IBM’s Watson Takes On Cancer Screening Challenge

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AI system teams up with the Epic and the Mayo Clinic to guide screening at 14 clinics

IBM has revealed a major new tie-up that will see its Watson AI system team up with some of the most famous names in healthcare.

Not content with beating human opponents at TV quiz shows and learning a variety of foreign languages, it seems Watson is now set to expand into the world of healthcare thanks to a partnership with the Mayo Clinic and medical software provider Epic.

IBM’s super-charged system will be applying its cognitive computing capabilities to Electronic Health Records (EHRs), providing faster and more thorough analysis of patient records.

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The iconic Mayo Clinic, which sees over a million patients a year, is working with Watson to integrate its cognitive computing in matching cancer patients to clinical trials which could provide lifesaving treatment.

Watson’s speed and accuracy allows physicians to enroll patients more quickly in the thousand or more Mayo Clinic trials that best meet individual patient needs.

“Patients need answers, and Watson helps provide them quickly and more thoroughly. We are excited by Watson’s potential to efficiently provide clinical trials information at the point of care,” said Dr. Steven Alberts, Mayo Clinic oncologist.

Watson will also now be working with Epic, whose software is used by more than 350 customers, including some of the largest healthcare systems in the world, to apply the cognitive capabilities of Watson to more than 80 million patient records through secure, cloud-based Watson services, providing greater clinical insight to help personalise healthcare.

“Building on our recent announcement of IBM Watson Health, we are collaborating with Epic and Mayo Clinic in another important validation of the potential of Watson to be used broadly across the healthcare industry,” said Mike Rhodin, senior vice president, IBM Watson.

“This is just the first step in our vision to bring more personalized care to individual patients by connecting traditional sources of patient information with the growing pools of dynamic and constantly growing healthcare information.”

IBM has been investing heavily into Watson in recent months, and opened a dedicated headquarters in New York focusing on the technology, which will be home to 600 employees, along with setting up bases in Dublin, Melbourne, Singapore, London and Sao Paolo.

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