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February 09, 2013

IBM Watson providing superior cancer treatment plans and will accelerate the adoption of new cancer research

The IBM Watson system gained fame by beating human contestants on the television quiz show Jeopardy! almost two years ago. Since that time, Watson has evolved from a first-of-a-kind status, to a commercial cognitive computing system gaining a 240 percent improvement in system performance, and a reduction in the system’s physical requirements by 75 percent and can now be run on a single Power 750 server.

IBM Watson trained in medicine to leverage 1.5 million patient records and 2 million pages of cancer research

IBM Watson has ingested more than 600,000 pieces of medical evidence, two million pages of text from 42 medical journals and clinical trials in the area of oncology research. Watson has the power to sift through 1.5 million patient records representing decades of cancer treatment history, such as medical records and patient outcomes, and provide to physicians evidence based treatment options all in a matter of seconds.

In less than a year, Memorial Sloan-Kettering has immersed Watson in the complexities of cancer and the explosion of genetic research which has set the stage for changing care practices for many cancer patients with highly specialized treatments based on their personal genetic tumor type.

Starting with 1,500 lung cancer cases, Memorial Sloan-Kettering clinicians and analysts are training Watson to extract and interpret physician notes, lab results and clinical research, while sharing its profound expertise and experiences in treating hundreds of thousands of patients with cancer.

“It can take years for the latest developments in oncology to reach all practice settings. The combination of transformational technologies found in Watson with our cancer analytics and decision-making process has the potential to revolutionize the accessibility of information for the treatment of cancer in communities across the country and around the world,” said Craig B.Thompson, M.D., President of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. “Ultimately, we expect this comprehensive, evidence-based approach will profoundly enhance cancer care by accelerating the dissemination of practice-changing research at an unprecedented pace.”



IBM, Memorial Sloan-Kettering and WellPoint are introducing the first commercially based products based on Watson. These innovations represent a breakthrough in how medical professionals can apply advances in analytics and natural language processing to "big data," combined with the clinical knowledge base, including genomic data, in order to create evidence based decision support systems. These Watson-based systems are designed to assist doctors, researchers, medical centers, and insurance carriers, and ultimately enhance the quality and speed of care.

The new products include the Interactive Care Insights for Oncology, powered by Watson, in collaboration with IBM, Memorial Sloan-Kettering and WellPoint. The WellPoint Interactive Care Guide and Interactive Care Reviewer, powered by Watson, designed for utilization management in collaboration with WellPoint and IBM.

New Interactive Care Insights for Oncology
The cognitive systems use insights gleaned from the deep experience of Memorial Sloan-Kettering clinicians to provide individualized treatment options based on patient’s medical information and the synthesis of a vast array of updated and vetted treatment guidelines, and published research.

A first of-its-kind Watson-based advisor, available through the cloud, that is expected to assist medical professionals and researchers by helping to identify individualized treatment options for patients with cancer, starting with lung cancer.

Provides users with a detailed record of the data and information used to reach the treatment options.
Oncologists located anywhere can remotely access detailed treatment options based on updated research that will help them decide how best to care for an individual patient.

New WellPoint Interactive Care Guide and Interactive Care Reviewer

Delivers the first Watson-based cognitive computing system anticipated to streamline the review processes between a patient's physician and their health plan, potentially speeding approvals from utilization management professionals, reducing waste and helping ensure evidence-based care is provided.

Expected to accelerate accepted testing and treatment by shortening pre-authorization approval time, which means that patients are moving forward with the first crucial step toward treatment more quickly.

Analyzes treatment requests and matches them to WellPoint’s medical policies and clinical guidelines to present consistent, evidence-based responses for clinical staff to review, in the anticipation of providing faster, better informed decisions about a patient’s care.

WellPoint has deployed Interactive Care Reviewer to a select number of providers in the Midwest, and believes more than 1,600 providers will be using the product by the end of the year.


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