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Let the Machines Do the Hard Work

Published On
February 9, 2021
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Humans are really good at some things.  Our ability to communicate, show empathy, make decisions and create things is, well, unmatched.  But, if too much information, data and complexity is added to the mix, we don't perform nearly as well.  How many of us still do long division? Close to zero is my guess.  We use a calculator or spreadsheet to do math, track information, price products, or figure out how much to tip the waitstaff.  Why?  Because it's faster and more accurate.  We want to get to the answer or make the decision or move onto the next problem quickly, but if we move too quickly through complex information, we often miss things.

So, why are we still asking underwriters and claims analysts to spend hours each day, day after day, reviewing complex medical information in order to make decisions (which we're good at) and communicate those decisions (which we're also good at)?  This is really hard work.  Studies show that humans simply cannot focus on complex information for long periods of time without losing the ability to concentrate - whether we know it or not we become bored and our minds wander.  Our eyes continue to "read" but we're not absorbing what we see.  I shudder to think of the critical information I may have missed and poor decisions made when I was a young underwriter, overconfident in my ability to absorb and act on reams of data.

Thankfully, there are really good options today to help solve this.  We should be embracing new technology solutions that can do the hard, complex and monotonous tasks, leaving us more time to do what we're good at (and actually enjoy).  One example is advanced Natural Language Processing (NLP) for medical records and other sources of medical data.  This form of artificial intelligence has developed rapidly in the past few years, and not only is it much more accurate at extracting and making sense of medical data, it does it much, much faster than humans.  In a matter of minutes, thousands of data points contained in hundreds of pages of imaged medical information can be extracted, processed, analyzed and put back together in a compact and concise medical record summary, making the information infinitely easier to understand and absorb.

Enhancing decision-making speed and improving allocation of resources

Rather than spending hours delving deep into hundreds of pages of medical text just to find the 5-10% that's actually important, spend more time making good decisions for your clients and your company while the machine toils away in the background.  You'll be much happier and more productive, and I promise the machine won't mind playing the support role.

Tim Seavey
Advisory Board Member
About the author

Tim Seavey serves as an Advisory Board Member at DigitalOwl where he offers strategic guidance to senior management. Previously, as Managing Director, he led the successful launch of an automated solution transforming unstructured medical documents into structured data, revolutionizing insurance and legal markets.