Here's How IBM Watson Is Making Healthcare More Advanced
By Kamal Jacob
Technology over the years has evolved and the rate of evolution is just incredible. People nowadays are so much dependent on technology that they are not even turning their room lights on using the switch — from your mobile phones to that smart home device to the wristwatch you wear, technology has changed the way how people work and even live.
One of the most anticipated use cases of technology doing wonders is in the healthcare sector. The industry today has embraced technology whole-heartedly. Talking about technology in healthcare, one of the most sought after tech is IBM Watson.
Marketed since February 2010, Watson is basically a question-answering computer system created by IBM in its DeepQA project. The system is created in such a way that it is capable of answering questions that are even asked in natural language.
Going back to the history, Watson, which was named after IBM’s first CEO Thomas J. Watson, was initially meant to answer questions on a quiz show Jeopardy. However, as advancements continued to happen, in 2013, the company announced that the system will also be available for commercial application which included utilization management decisions in lung cancer treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York City, in conjunction with WellPoint (now Anthem).
Today, IBM Watson is one of the most talked-about things in the healthcare industry. The system has gained so much traction that its use cases are has made a long list in the healthcare sector. In this article, we are going to have a look at how IBM Watson has significantly made a difference in the healthcare industry, how it has changed the way healthcare decisions were taken, how it has impacted the lives of not only doctors and nurses, but patients as well.
IBM Watson Health
IBM Watson Health, which is completely focused on the healthcare industry empowers thriving organizations to address some of the most complex pain-points in the healthcare industry. Speaking of numbers, IBM Watson Health over the years have bagged more than 15,000 clients and partners, impacted the lives of more than 295,000 patients and consumers with its top-notch Watson Health AI solutions, and have got more than 50 peer-reviewed publications, posters, and abstracts supporting Watson Health AI offerings. And these statistics definitely show how significant the evolution of this technology is in the healthcare sector.
Before taking a look at the real use case of IBM Watson Health, imagine a situation where there is a patient who is diagnosed with a rare disease. And now, imagine there is a system that is loaded with a massive database that has data about symptoms and data about other patients with the same disease and what were the risks they were facing and tells you about your situation? Sounds really quirky right?
Well, this is what IBM Watson is capable of which is powered by cognitive computing and a wide-reaching partnership strategy.
Image Source: https://www.ibm.com
IBM Watson Oncology
According to a source that focused on the statistics of last year, it is prophesied that the number of cancer cases will continue to grow from an estimated 18 million cases in 2018 to approximately 29.5 cases in 2040.
There was a time when the oncology professionals were witnessing some of the serious pain-points in the sector and were seeking some of the advancements to solve those issues. Talking about voids and pain-points, it includes cases of identifying causes, diagnostics, creating and developing medicines, and providing the much-needed treatments to patients. And this is where data comes into the scenario — data has the superpowers to allow anyone to take advantage of the previous events and turn them into today’s advantages. This is what IBM Watson does — powered by artificial intelligence, IBM Watson for Oncology help oncology professionals gather data, extract meaningful insights, and present in such a way that professionals can personalize cancer treatment plans.
Trained by physicians at Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK), IBM Watson for Oncology looks and evaluates details from medical records of a vast amount from sources such as journals, textbooks, drug information, and cancer treatment guidelines. Once the evaluation is done, the system provides doctors with different treatment options. Simply put, the oncology professionals from MSK have trained the system to think like real doctors. And by doing so, they have literally created a whole new system that now delivers quality treatment options.
For example, if a patient is diagnosed with cancer, the doctor can feed previous medical records to the IBM Watson along with data from external resources and come up with a decision regarding the treatment that needs to be done.
The IBM Watson for oncology comes in the form of an app that can be used on an iPad or another tablet. The app is built in such a way that it brings the expertise of MSK oncologists and artificial intelligence under one roof. It is basically a marriage between artificial intelligence and human expertise that has the capabilities to take the healthcare industry to a whole new level.
Doctors can access the app anywhere, anytime and are able to provide premium and effective cancer care. This innovation by MSK and IBM Watson is without a doubt a game-changer in the industry. Looking at the other advantages of this innovation, it is an extremely effective way to treat patients who live in areas sans better medical services.
Further, it's not just the AI that is doing wonders, it’s the data as well that is being cleaned and curated to be analyzed and paired with AI services. The work that is being done behind the scenes is just commendable — it is a unique approach to combine data, cloud, and AI services.
Today, IBM Watson Health helps more than 300 hospitals and health organizations to make some of the best decisions when it comes to treating a specific disease and the rate at which this technology is evolving, the future looks extremely bright.
Over the years the technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning have changed the way things work. These sought after technologies have invaded almost every industry — whether it’s about recommending movies or recommending clothes or recommending medicine for a specific disease.to
However, there are still many questions that are revolving around technology being applied in healthcare. While there are several success stories of technology doing wonders in the healthcare sector, there instances as well that have shown that even these techs can go wrong.
Can we trust these technologies with completely with our eyes closed? Are they really capable of treating some of the complex diseases in the world? If yes, will they take over the jobs of doctors? All these questions are yet to be answered. However, for now, let’s be optimistic and praise the success rate that it has displayed.
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