IBM Announces Watson Cancer Research, EHR Integration Projects

May 7, 2015 in News

On Tuesday, IBM announced it is partnering with 14 health systems and cancer centers to use its Watson supercomputer platform for cancer research efforts, Modern Healthcare reports.

Details of Project

According to Modern Healthcare, researchers will use Watson to sort through individuals’ genetic data and pair them with medical literature to find the most suitable treatments. Watson is expected to help the researchers better decide on personalized treatment plans that target specific cancer-causing gene mutations, which could lead to improved patient outcomes (Rubenfire, Modern Healthcare, 5/5).

Specifically, users will be able to upload patient data into the system, where it will be analyzed to find the genes responsible for the cancer (Costa, U.S. News World Report, 5/5). The process would take weeks for physicians to complete manually, but will take minutes using the Watson system, according to Modern Healthcare (Modern Healthcare, 5/5).

The partnering cancer centers and health systems are expected to begin using Watson by late 2015. The facilities will pay an undisclosed fee to use the technology (Begley, Reuters, 5/5).

IBM said it expects more cancer centers to join the project later this year.

IBM Announces EHR Integration Project

In related news, IBM also announced that it will integrate Watson with Epic electronic health record system, Modern Healthcare reports.

The integration will allow Watson to use individualized data to recommend medical literature and case studies in real time through Epic’s advanced decision support technology (Modern Healthcare, 5/5). Specifically, the initiative will use Epic HL7′s Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (Bresnick, Health IT Analytics, 5/5).

IBM Watson Senior Vice President Mike Rhodin said the EHR project “is just the first step in our vision to bring more personalized care to individual patients by connecting traditional sources of patient information with the growing pools of dynamic and constantly growing health care information.”

Epic President Carl Dvorak said the integration will “brin[g] another level of cognitive computing and augmented intelligence to mainstream health care, to improve safety and outcomes for patients globally” (IBM release, 5/5).

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