IBM Watson, MAP Health Management Bring Cognitive Computing to Substance Abuse Treatment

May 17, 2017
Austin-based health IT solutions provider MAP Health Management and IBM Watson Health are collaborating on the development of new software that uses cognitive computing to treat addiction and substance abuse.

Austin-based health IT solutions provider MAP Health Management and IBM Watson Health are collaborating on the development of new software that uses cognitive computing to treat addiction and substance abuse.

MAP will integrate Watson cognitive technologies into the MAP Recovery Network Platform to enhance the platform's existing capabilities around patient risk models. In doing so, it is anticipated that behavioral health and substance abuse treatment providers that use the MAP platform will be better able to predict and prevent incidence of relapse nationwide, according to a press release from the companies.

Addiction and substance abuse claim more than 125,000 lives per year in the United States and result in economic costs of up to 700 billion annually. More than 22.5 million Americans need help with a Substance Use Disorder and only 2.6 million Americans are receiving treatment. Currently, many treatment programs do not provide sufficient support following acute treatment and lack a standardized means to collect data on long-term treatment program results.

“Addiction is the great crisis of our time. The current method of assessing, treating and paying for addiction and substance care isn't sustainable. It's time to leverage an advanced cognitive technology platform like IBM Watson to help make the right, evidence-based decisions to best treat those suffering from addiction. This could help patients manage their disease more effectively over the long term. Bringing Watson into MAP's ecosystem has the potential to improve countless lives and reduce substance abuse costs. MAP and IBM Watson hope to make a huge impact," Jacob Levenson, CEO of MAP Health Management, said in a statement.

Aetna Behavioral Health is expected to deploy the Watson-powered MAP offering to help predict substance abuse relapses among its members. MAP and Aetna are working together, in conjunction with addiction treatment providers, to collect and analyze patient data in order to more sufficiently develop treatment protocol and long-term strategies to support a patient's ability to achieve and remain in recovery.  The collection and application of these valuable outcomes data will help fill a current void in the addiction treatment field today and will drive better quality results across care continuums, according to the press release.

"The MAP and IBM collaboration promises to be a tremendous opportunity to leverage the power of Watson towards solving the scourge of opioid dependence and addiction now affecting so many people," Louise Murphy, head of Aetna Behavioral Health, said. "We look forward to continuing to work with MAP, and now IBM, to innovate and devise new methods for helping people struggling with addictions and comorbid behavioral health disorders achieve optimal emotional health and well-being."

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