If you have data, Watson analytics can tell you something interesting about it.
You may have seen a few commercials showing scientists having conversations with Watson, but what you may not know is the impact it could make on your practice.
Watson specializes in data discovery, pattern analysis, predictive analytics, and data augmentation for contextualization—all without the need for a computer scientist. Watson does this by using a unique language processor similar to Siri.
When you ask Siri a question like, “What’s the fastest way to the mall?” Siri uses the context of your words and your location to bring up directions to the nearest mall. Watson understands the same kind of plain language in context to answer your toughest data questions.
Here are five ways that Watson can bring your practice into the 21st century.
1. Quality of care
Don’t look now but value-based payments are headed this way. The chiropractors leading the charge on insurance reform can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that they get their patients out of pain. Outcomes from specific chiropractic practitioners and clinics must be used to supplement the outcomes data used by insurers and managed-care networks if we want to be compensated fairly.
Watson analytics can tell you on average how many treatments it takes for you to decrease a sciatic patient’s leg pain by 50 percent. You can find out how much pain relief the average neck pain patient gets after their first adjustment.
You can also instantly know which doctor in your clinic is the best at treating sacroiliac disorders. You can compare these outcomes to those obtained by the surgeon down the street and make the case to your local primary care providers as to why they should be referring to you first.
2. Average severity of patients treated
Outcomes data has gotten a bad reputation for not treating everyone fairly. The most common complaints are that it’s unfair to use outcome metrics because the patients in one practice are in worse pain and are more complex than the patients down the street. With Watson, now we’ll know for sure.
Using a combination of subjective, objective, and demographic information, you can evaluate the average severity and risk of your patient population. The capitated payment plans are proposing to give your health system an annual lump sum payment based on anticipated expenses. Watson can make sure that you have data backing you up during contract negotiations.
3. Healthcare spending per episode
While chiropractors focus on safety and effectiveness when looking up new treatments, healthcare administrators focus on costs, savings, and the bottom line. With value-based reimbursement, administrators are looking for new ways to make their organizations more efficient and more competitive.
Chiropractors are perfectly positioned to improve outcomes and lower healthcare costs, but the only way anyone is going to find that out is if we tell them.
Watson analytics can take the average number of visits per patient, the number of patients per day, the utilization rates for specific treatments, and your monthly operating costs to tell you exactly how much it costs you to treat your patients.
4. Improve your business model
With cost and outcome data, chiropractors can finally stop doing a little bit of everything and instead target conditions and populations where they get great outcomes at low costs.
For the conditions that don’t fit that criteria, you can partner with more effective healthcare providers. Accountable Care Organizations and Patient Centered Medical Homes are looking for the specialists who can help them survive this changing reimbursement landscape. Armed with this data, you can make a strong case that the specialist they’re looking for is you.
5. Kick your marketing up a notch
Watson is your personal marketing guru. It’s not magic so you are going to have to track some numbers. Things like how much you spend on advertising, where you advertise, and how your new patients heard about you can give Watson enough information to tell you which channels are most profitable.
You can even add in your patient’s home address and Watson can use Google Maps to calculate average driving time, tell you where your new patients are coming from, and predict the best place to advertise next.
The possibilities are endless and the insights obtained could lead to something spectacular. It’s time to start considering what questions you’d like Watson to solve for you.
Randy Thompson, DC, is a 2016 graduate of New York Chiropractic College. Thompson enjoys the challenge of effectively communicating research for practical use and turning satisfied patients into passionate advocates. Follow him on Facebook at facebook.com/RandyThompsonDC.