The IBM Watson Supercomputer moves to Medicine

Watson’s performance on the Jeopardy game show was impressive but IBM has far more visionary plans for its new super computer. According to the Huffington Post; IBM envisions several uses for its medical version of Watson including “a handheld device to get answers at a patient’s bedside”. With Watson at the bed side patients and doctors will be able to leverage the full plethora of global medical knowledge to aid in a better understanding of symptoms and treatment options. This capability was recently demonstrated for the Associated Press; “Watson was gradually given information about a fictional patient with an eye problem. As more clues were unveiled – blurred vision, family history of arthritis, Connecticut residence – Watson’s suggested diagnoses evolved from uveitis to Behcet’s disease to Lyme disease. It gave the final diagnosis a 73 percent confidence rating.” Source: Huffington Post According to Columbia University medical school professor Dr. Herbert Chase “What people say about their treatment … it’s not to be ignored just because it’s anecdotal.” Source: Huffington Post When one considers the daunting impact of fast moving changes in the field of medicine and a physicians ability to use that information effectively Watson may be just what we need in the medical field to improve health, make better more timely decisions and bring down the cost of healthcare. According to ” Carl Kesselman, director of the Health Informatics Center at the University of Southern California, says the “deluge of information” is a significant problem. “Advances in medicine are increasing rapidly: genomics, specialized drugs, off-label uses, increasingly finer-grained classifications of disease,” said Kesselman. “The ability to ask `Jeopardy!’-style questions and get that kind of information retrieval, to sort through all the stuff out there and point you to the latest literature, would be of potentially huge value.”