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January 30, 2013

Watson Getting Ready For Healthcare

IBM Watson AI

 Artificial Intelligence
IBM is currently developing their Watson system to address the medical field. For the IBM developers is clear that enabling the transformation of healthcare will require making better decisions. At the same time they are dealing with huge and expanding volumes of data.
There are numerous opinions and ideas about the flawed state of healthcare, the critical need for change and the future we want. Improving health outcomes while controlling costs and personalizing healthcare are among the objectives.

IBM sees the potential to introduce artificial intelligence, in the form of their Jeopardy-winning Watson system, as a means to help this situation.

For the IBM developers is clear that enabling the transformation of healthcare will require making better decisions. At the same time they are dealing with huge and expanding volumes of data.

Watson as a medical system will need tools to help us gather and analyze data to bring relevant information to decision makers so that it easier to obtain evidence-supported choices. Unstructured, text-like content is a large fraction of the data we rely on for decisions. Up until recently we have had limited ability to use unstructured material effectively.

IBM's Watson, with its ability to understand the nature of a question being addressed and to read and understand huge volumes of literature, makes such material more approachable. However, making medicine more precise mandates the use of other forms of data, and population observational techniques. Predictive analytics, to identify people that need specific attention, and comparative analytics to elicit evidence from populations that can be applied to individuals, are part of the process. IBM has developed robust resources that provide such information.

In the presentation below,  Dr. Martin Kohn, the Chief Medical Scientist for Care Delivery Systems in IBM Research presents the Watson use case for medicine. Dr. Kohn is a leader in IBM's support for the transformation of healthcare, including development of personalized care, outcomes-based models and payment reform.

His research work includes healthcare population analytics and the role of expert systems in the clinical decision process, including the use of the Watson supercomputer in healthcare. He speaks frequently on the issues on healthcare transformation, the role of information technology, the Patient Centered Medical Home and clinical decision support. Dr. Kohn is a co-author of IBM's white paper "Patient-Centered Medical Home -- What, Why and How." He is on the editorial board of the Journal of Emergency Medicine.

Dr. Kohn was previously in IBM Healthcare Strategy and Change which helped healthcare systems and clinicians optimize process and make best use of health information technology. He has published multiple articles and book chapters on clinical, technical and management subjects. Dr. Kohn is an emergency physician with over 30 years of hospital-based practice and management experience. He is an alumnus of MIT, Harvard Medical School and NYU, and is a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians and the American College of Physician Executives.


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