– Data is becoming the world’s new natural resource

With cognitive computing, we are now able to see health data that was previously hidden, and do more than we ever thought possible. IBM's Hui Lei knows all about it.

Hui Lei is Director and Chief Technology Officer of IBM Watson Health Cloud – a new partnership between humanity and technology with the goal of transforming global health.  On October 6th & 7th Mr Lei will travel to Nordic Edge Expo in Stavanger, Norway, to speak about big data for smart health care.

According to Mr Lei, data is becoming the world’s new natural resource. In its exponentially increasing volume, velocity and variety, data promises to be for the 21st century what steam power was for the 18th, electricity for the 19th and oil and gas for the 20th. In particular, a vast amount of health-related data is generated everyday, spanning traditional clinical data, genomic data, and, more importantly, exogenous data from non-medical sources such as wearables, social media and public records.

– Combining health big data with analytics and cognitive computing capabilities can produce critical actionable insights for physicians, researchers, care managers, and so forth. The insights in turn can drive the transformation of the health industry, tackling many of the clinical, societal, and economic challenges faced by today’s health system. The net result is smarter healthcare that helps people live healthier and more productive lives, says Mr Lei.

Hui Lei’s work has spanned the areas of cloud computing, mobile and pervasive computing, service-oriented computing, and business process management, with an emphasis on software infrastructure and data management issues.

Mr Lei is also an IBM Distinguished Engineer, and a member of the IBM Academy of Technology. He provides leadership on the Watson Health Cloud technical strategy, and spearheads the design and development of the Watson Health Cloud platform. In other words: He knows what he’s talking about.

– Big data solutions can be built for all sectors of the health industry, including life sciences, the continuum of care, insurance, and health and social programs. Big data solutions can help researchers match candidates to eligible clinical trials more effectively, rapidly and at scale, put more patients into potentially life-saving new treatments, and accelerate broader access and availability of treatments themselves. Big data solutions can also give physicians the ability to see and analyze once-invisible data, evaluate it in light of the world’s leading medical literature and evidence-based guidelines, and provide personalized care with greater diagnostic certainty, explains Mr Lei.

– In addition, big data solutions can allow payers to better manage practice variance, improve care coordination, and create more efficient care delivery models, with the goal of providing best outcomes for an increasing patient population while avoiding unnecessary utilization. Furthermore, big data solutions can enable health and social services to identify – at population scale – risk factors across a spectrum of health determinants, discover high-impact interventions through comparison of the efficacy of various care approaches, and treat high-cost and high-need patients more effectively by focusing on the holistic well-being of the individuals, he adds.

For all these big data solutions, a key success factor will be how well a solution is able to generate and deliver insights from big data through advanced analytics and cognitive computing. Cognitive systems that understand, reason and learn are helping people expand their knowledge base, improve their productivity and deepen their expertise. This is the core of IBM Watson Health Cloud, and also what Mr Lei will be speaking about at Nordic Edge Expo in October.

– Nordic Edge Expo is an exciting forum for smart technologies and solutions. I appreciate its open and inclusive spirit as it brings together business executives, technologists, academics, policy makers, and entrepreneurs from around the world. I look forward to learning from their experiences and insight, as well as discussing with them the Watson Health Cloud, which represents a strategic and fast growing area for IBM and embodies many of IBM’s latest innovations. This will be my first time in Norway and Stavanger, and there will be many more things to see and do than I will have time for. I would like to pay a visit to my collaborators in the University of Stavanger and, if time permits, to tour Lysefjorden and Preikestolen, says Mr Hui Lei.


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