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IBM ready to push Watson further into healthcare

Technology giant IBM (opens in new tab) has revealed it is expanding its artificially intelligent computer system Watson (opens in new tab) to include more healthcare analytics data.

IBM Watson Health (opens in new tab) will be collaborating healthcare software provider Epic (opens in new tab) and not-for-profit Mayo Clinic (opens in new tab) to advance patient health by applying Watson’s cognitive computing capabilities to Electronic Patient Records (EPRs).

“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,” claimed Mike Rhodin, IBM Watson senior vice president (opens in new tab).

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

According to the firm, patients and providers will be able to benefit from a more rapid and thorough analysis of the medical factors that could impact an individual’s health and wellness.

It claims Epic’s interoperability with Watson will enable institutions using this software to provide greater clinical insight to help personalise healthcare.

There is a possibility that Watson and Epic may work together to develop patient treatment protocols, personalise patient management for chronic conditions and intelligently assist doctors and nurses by providing relevant evidence from the worldwide body of medical knowledge.

Healthcare providers will be able to share patient-specific data with Watson in real time, within workflows, allowing the supercomputer to bring forth critical evidence from medical literature and case studies that are most relevant to the patient’s care.

“Accessing Watson’s virtual brainpower from the Epic platform is energising from a creative standpoint,” claimed Epic president Carl Dvorak.

“We are bringing another level of cognitive computing and augmented intelligence to mainstream healthcare, to improve safety and outcomes for patients global,” Dvorak added.

Putting cancer patients in right clinical trials

Meanwhile, IBM is working with the Mayo Clinic to pioneer cognitive computing in clinical trials matching for cancer patients.

IBM claims Watson’s speed and accuracy allows physicians to enrol patients more quickly in the clinical trials that best meet their individual 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,” claimed Mayo Clinic oncologist Dr Steven Alberts.

IBM Watson Health and the Watson Health Cloud platform are reportedly helping to improve the ability of doctors, researchers and insurers to innovate by surfacing new insights from the massive amounts of personal health data being created daily.

The Health Cloud enables the anonymisation, sharing and combination of information with a dynamic and constantly growing aggregated view of clinical, research and social health data.