IBM’s Watson super computer is being taught to analyze patient records to alleviate overworked doctors. So far, Watson is seeing some success.

IBM Watson IBMs Watson is going to fix the US healthcare system

America’s healthcare system is not all that healthy at the moment. While President Obama is busy trying to reform the system itself, there’s also a shortage of doctors, and they’re one of the most crucial ingredients to a functioning health care system. Well, never fear, because IBM’s super computer Watson is here to help.

Watson has had many jobs since it was featured on Jeopardy, including working for wall streat and as a pastry chef. Now, it’s being taught the basic principles of medical diagnosis by scanning various text books so it can be used to analyze digital health records.

The purpose of this new venture is to assist overworked doctors by taking some of the work off of their hands. Watson will be pointing out important data in health records, search through patient history and perhaps even diagnose a few cases itself. The super computer has been trying its skills at Sloan-Kettering hospital, mainly because that environment is less prone to lawsuits, but is expanding to include Cleveland Clinic.

watsonpaths crop IBMs Watson is going to fix the US healthcare system

Here’s Watson’s thought process

So far, Watson has had some success. IBM openly admits that patient records often have missing data or use shorthand which may be unconventional, thus making it harder for a computer to analyze, but with records now becoming digitized, the environment is catering more and more to this kind of analysis. Dr. Neil Mehta from the Cleveland Clinic says: “I’ve had a couple of patients where Watson found things that I had missed. It doesn’t work every time, but it’s getting better.”

Source: The Verge