VA, IBM Partner To Use Watson for Clinical Decision Support

December 16, 2014 in News

On Monday, the Department of Veterans Affairs and IBM announced that they have partnered to use Watson to help physicians make evidence-based care decisions in an effort to improve post-traumatic stress disorder treatment, Healthcare IT News reports (Miliard, Healthcare IT News, 12/16).

Details of Partnership

Under the partnership, VA and IBM will implement a two-year, $6.8 million pilot program in which Watson will analyze “hundreds of thousands of … documents, medical records and research papers” to deliver real-time decision-making assistance (Konkel, NextGov, 12/15).

In addition, Watson will correlate that information with data extracted from electronic health records (Healthcare IT News, 12/16).

The program will be administered through the Veterans Health Administration and will focus on providing support to veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (Gold, “Morning eHealth,” Politico, 12/16).

According to NextGov, Watson will not use actual patient encounters to formulate its clinical decisions. Instead, Watson will use realistic simulations of patient encounters to test how a computer would handle care decisions.

Carolyn Clancy, VA’s interim undersecretary for health, in a statement said, “Physicians can save valuable time finding the right information needed to care for their patients with this sophisticated and advanced technology” (NextGov, 12/15).

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