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IBM Watson’s Role in Healthcare

IBM’s Watson is more than a contestant on Jeopardy. This amazing QA computing system built by IBM can have a positive impact in healthcare technology, including how to best treat and diagnose a patient based on analytics.

IBM WatsonAccording to an article in the April 2010 Harvard Business Review, doctors inaccurately or incompletely diagnose patient illness an estimated 15 percent of the time. IBM Watson is able to analyze data and understand what works and what doesn’t, and why. For example, using analytics and insight solutions, Watson can help physicians detect infections before patients exhibit symptoms. This capability provides an unprecedented ability to get insights from vast amounts of data and spot trends in real time.

In the future, doctors may be able to couple IBM’s currently available health analytics solutions with the Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology in Watson to discuss a patient’s exam results. Watson would be able to dissect information from similar cases, producing diagnosis and suggestions, in real time, backed by evidence for the doctor’s review.

Just as doctors must go to medical school, Watson still has a lot of learning to do. Its system needs to be filled up with knowledge and evidence so it can properly interpret and make correlations across different diseases and give proper diagnostics. But in the near future, Watson will be able to help enable improved outcomes of procedures and surgeries through evidence-based medicine.

Will your hospital or health system utilize Watson when it becomes more available and how would you plan on marketing it to your patients?