WellPoint employees "fed" Watson 25,000 real-life scenarios to help train the technology in how to apply WellPoint policies and clinical guidelines. By the end of last year, a third of the company's nurses were using Watson to make decisions, and more than 3,500 physicians were receiving real time authorizations for things that used to take days.
"As a health plan, our responsibility is to be the connective tissue that binds the ecosystem," Swedish says. "Relationships have to be based on trust and transparency. Our role puts us at the hub of the ecosystem as a convener and collaborator."
Information is the lifeblood of this revolution, says Swedish, who adds that the ability of consumers, providers and employers to access information they need to act will lead to better choices.
"This revolution may one day be as impactful as the discovery of penicillin," Swedish says. "There's vast potential to save lives and transform healthcare and health for millions of people."
Of course revolutions have victims too. Hospitals and other healthcare providers that don't heed the call to reduce waste and compete on cost and quality will fall by the wayside.
Competition tends to do that. Bring it on.