IBM jStart Reduces Time-to-Market for DataSkill Inc. ACUMI™ Healthcare Solution with IBM Bluemix Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)

A small jStart engagement has made a Bluemix PaaS believer out of Nigel Hook, CEO and Founder of Dataskill Inc. “With Bluemix, we provision all sort of infrastructure assets very quickly for our developers” stated Mr. Hook. Dataskill increased productivity by 30 percent and cut sales-development POC time by 75 percent. Mr. Hook states, “In addition to the time savings in software development, [Bluemix] enables us to achieve faster turnarounds for our customers”.

Nigel Blog PicIBM Customer Voices – Nigel Hook

Dataskill’s primary goals for the engagement:

  • Reduce the Sales Cycle of Dataskill solutions which require individually coded, unique Proofs of Concept, beginning with their flagship app: ACUMI™
  • Position ACUMI™ with the ability to embrace new game-changing capabilities and services quickly

Founded in 1981, Dataskill helps organizations make better use of their data. Specializing in big data integration and architecture, custom enterprise and mobile software, the company has designed solutions for 500-plus companies worldwide. Recently Dataskill unveiled their ACUMI™ solution, which brings free-form text of clinician dictation and documents into usable form to populate an Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) and an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system to optimize outcomes. The solution incorporates Natural Language Processing (NLP) using IBM Watson Content Analytics on physician notes, radiology notes, pathology notes, research protocols and other documents to analyze conditions, procedures, problems, medications, allergies, and quality parameters. This would enable high-level analytics for personalized medicine.

Reduce the Sales Cycles of the ACUMI™ solution, as well as, future solutions

ACUMI™ is a solution that leverages Natural Language Processing (NLP) Technologies to ultimately extract patient information from free form text. As you know, patient information is highly regulated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Like most technologies, a customer wants to see what value can be gleaned from their data.   With protected health information (PHI), this requires you to jump through hoops like putting a Business Associate Agreement in place and typically install various components of infrastructure for an on-site POC. To reduce the amount of effort and time of a POC, less on-premise component installs are needed while leveraging existing shared services when possible.  

ACUMI Blog PicIBM jStart and DataSkill architects developed a hybrid-cloud approach that involves leveraging a small appliance that resides on-premise whose function is to anonymize the medical information, as well as, store the content back into an on-premise data warehouse. This appliance is orchestrated by a Dataskill developed Bluemix application/UI.   All the NLP was Bluemix services and by using the Cloud Integration services of Bluemix, all the extracted information was kept on-premise along with the PHI data Dataskill need only provide a single appliance to the customer anonymizing the content. From there, all data analysis is done with shared services of Bluemix. Reduction in the time of component installs of end-customer POCs allows for significant reduction in the sales cycle  

“It is a huge deal for us to be able to do these proofs of concept very quickly for our customers so we can show the value of [DataSkill’s] new technology. It is very exciting, and Bluemix is a key piece of it.” – Nigel Hook

Position ACUMI™ with the ability to embrace new game-changing capabilities and technology quickly

IBM jStart was able to demonstrate the ease with which Dataskill can quickly spin up additional new services when they become available in Bluemix. While the Bluemix Rules service was in beta at the time of the testing, sample code enabled a business rule engine (by binding to the Bluemix Rules Service) to accompany the NLP processing.   Dataskill is keenly interested in impending predictive analytics and Watson Cognitive Bluemix services. Dataskill will be able to fully leverage all future Bluemix services quickly and easily.

“The advent of cognitive technology and the support of mobile and cloud technology are all coming together at an incredible time. Speed to market and rapid response to customer demand are essential to its continued success.” – Nigel Hook

IBM jStart can show you how to embrace Emerging Technologies. Start Small, Grow Fast.


IBM jStart enables MD Anderson Cancer Center with Enhanced Cohort Selection Capabilities by Harnessing Unstructured Clinical Information.

mdanderson building
What started as an IBM jStart Proof of Concept (PoC) for MD Anderson’s Chief Medical Information Officer, Dr. Frenzel, blossomed into a complete revelation in the way reseachers and clinicians utilize historical patient experiences. Mining the data from hundreds and even thousands of patient records to cull treatment patterns and success rates would be a nearly impossible human feat. Leveraging IBM Watson Content Analytics (WCA) to automate the extraction of breast cancer information from clinical documentation seemed daunting, at best. Previously, clinicians logged 1020 hours to complete the chart conversion for a mere 3000 patients. jStart was able to exploit the Watson Technologies within 240 hours thus creating an app that would converted the same 3000 patient files in minutes. The information extracted, leveraging Natural Language Processing (NLP), contained straightforward medical concepts but also abstracted concepts like Satisfaction Indicators of Cosmetic Surgery results. The POC was a smashing success.

DrFrenzelThis led to a follow-on project for the IBM Watson team, who then designed and integrated WCA capabilities into the MD Anderson Oncology Expert Advisor (OEA) solution powered by IBM Watson. Researchers were in need of synthesized Leukemia patient clinical information to create actionable decision-trees for newly diagnosed patients.

With the success of the MD Anderson OEA work, Dr. Frenzel wanted to bring the proven NLP capabilities of WCA for use across all of MD Anderson departments and for all clinicians. He wanted to establish the infrastructure and enable MD Anderson skills to allow for the population of unstructured clinical information into their clinical data warehouse.

The first application to exploit newly added clinical information was targeted to improve their cohort selection capabilities. Dr. Frenzel once again engaged jStart to work with MD Anderson technical staff in order to architect and implement an integrated WCA infrastructure with their data warehouse and the cohort selection application. He also requested that we deploy the jStart NLP modeling methodology for skill mastery so that MD Anderson would be in a position to development specialized NLP extraction model going forward.

Today, MD Anderson has an NLP infrastructure that is feeding NLP derived data into the data warehouse and that data is leveraged by their cohort selection application. MD Anderson is at the end of the user acceptance validation for their first use-case where NLP models were solely implemented by MD Anderson NLP expertise.

In a short two years, MD Anderson has gained strong technical skills and expertise as a result of partnering with IBM jStart. Due to the unwavering commitment and support of Dr. Frenzel, MD Anderson has moved ever-closer to their vision:
“Allow our Clinicians, Scientist, Researchers to stand on the shoulders of everyone else in the practice and begin to see across patients, beyond the patients seen in their own experience… to allow them to look beyond the current patient and look at large cohorts of patients and begin to tease out those things that people have not put together before” – Dr John Frenzel, M.D.

IBM jStart develops unique solutions using Emerging Technologies.   See how jStart can help you.