Two years after beating human champions on “Jeopardy!,” the cognitive computing system IBM Watson is ready for a new challenge: advising clinicians on the treatment of cancer. Announced on Feb. 8 by partners IBM, WellPoint, Inc., and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the new venture is one of the first commercially developed Watson-based products. Also announced at the same time is a set of utilization management tools to streamline the review process between patients’ physicians and health plans.
Using advances in natural language processing and analytics, Watson is able to process information in a way similar to how people think, according to a press release from the partners. Since its appearance on “Jeopardy!,” Watson has improved by 240% in system performance.
The Watson product in oncology, called Interactive Care Insights for Oncology, provides a Watson-based advisor, accessible through the cloud, that is intended to help identify individualized treatment options for patients with cancer, starting with lung cancer, according to the press release. In principle, oncologists anywhere will be able to access detailed treatment options to help them decide how best to care for a patient.