Poor planning even between two relative giants in their respective industries makes a big headline, especially when there was little hard evidence that artificial intelligence would catalyze a disruptive innovation in health care.
Several questions come to my mind.
Why did IBM choose a large multispecialty clinic such as MD Anderson? Were they misguided by the aura of finding a cure for cancer ? Few details are forthcoming about the scope of cancers which were being studied or how Watson would analyze and use cognitive computer science. Both sides have blamed each other for failure. IBM charged MD Anderson with missing deadlines, changing mission, and switching EMRs in mid-stream.
Whether well planned in advance or not, implementing a new EMR is fraught with hazards while delivering health care. This is well known from countless disasters, loss of operating efficiency, and impacting morale on the professional staff.
The recent dissolution of the partnership between IBM’s Watson and renown cancer research center MD Anderson has chipped away at some of the optimism for Watson as a viable player in the medical tech industry.
According to Forbes, MD Anderson invested $62 million dollars in the project, and Watson didn’t live up to the expectations of such a large investment. To those involved, the Watson project was the one at MD Anderson that missed deadlines, had projects that continually shifted focus, and one that promised pilot programs which never happened. To top it all off, MD Anderson changed their EMR management system rendering all of the work done by Watson obsolete.
Why did MD Anderson chose to change an EMR during an innovative 'artifical intelligence exploration ?
A spokesperson for MD Anderson told that publication that:
This is not an auspicious time to invoke new unproven technology, when reimbursements are questionable and government continually stirs the pot with political health technology. Revenue Cycle is the heartbeat of health systems, and providers. The details are buried somewhere in the acccounts receivable, capital expenditures and impaired efficiency.“When it was appropriate to do so, the project was placed on hold … As a public institution, we decided to go out to the marketplace for competitive bids to see where the industry has progressed.”
No brainer for simple folk.
EMR change cited as one of the reasons IBM Watson and MD Anderson collaboration failed - iMedicalApps