Using Analytics to Find Bone Marrow Donors and Detect Brain Injuries

IBM is diving deep into the healthcare market with an array of analytics technologies it has accumulated with the $11 billion in acquisitions it has made in the past several years.

For instance, IBM is working with the National Bone Marrow Program (NMDP) to reduce by half the time it takes to find a donor.

The NMDP operates the “Be The Match Registry” of more than eight million potential donors and more than 160,000 cord blood units.

IBM is providing the NMDP with Websphere Lombardi analytics technology that tracks donors, patients, events and locations. The results will be showed in a single dashboard environment.

NMDP will automate its screening processes, eliminating the need for technical intervention. Staff may then focus on records that meet the matching criteria.

The IBM advanced analytics streamline the record matching process by comparing millions of data records nationwide. The records include donor information, geographic location and patient recipient data.

It currently takes 96 days to find a donor. NMDP says the new process will take 50% less time to find a donor recipient.

Wait time is a factor in a patient’s survival. The NMDP estimates that the United States has as many as 10,000 patients who may benefit from a transplant each year. Only four in 10 patients with life-threatening diseases actually receive the bone marrow.

Treating Patients with Brain Injuries

At the Information on Demand Conference last month, IBM announced that Columbia University is using streaming analytics to do do early detection of complications from brain injuries and strokes.

Columbia University researchers will use IBM InfoSphere streaming analytics software to detect complications for patients with brain injuries or strokes.

IBM says the technology can detect symptoms up to 48 hours earlier than current methods.


“InfoSphere allows researchers to process EEG feeds, blood oxygen levels, and blood pressure and temperature readings, according to IBM. The software data will be used along with lab test results and patient reports of symptoms to discover hidden patterns.

InfoSphere processes structured and unstructured streaming data sources, including voice and video and real-time feeds from the market, medical equipment and satellites.”

This is a field that holds all sorts of promise. Healthcare will change entirely as data increasingly becomes the key to treating patients. These are just the latest examples that show how analytics can pay a vital role in helping better treat patients.

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