IBM's Watson is Transforming Healthcare One Patient at a Time

IBM Watson is getting closer to helping your doctor read your X-rays and aims to make sense of a growing pool of health care-related data to help patients and providers make better decisions. Deborah DiSanzo, former CEO of Philips Healthcare, was named its head and general manager in September. Since April, Watson Health has added 100 companies to what IBM calls Ecosystem, allowing them to access Watson data to develop analytics and insights. Ecosystem partners include smart impact sensor-maker Triax Technologies, which will use Watson’s personality insights to better respond to athlete concussions, and ImplementHIT, which helps nurses and physicians with training.

Watson is only getting smarter with more data, which is why IBM acquired Merge Healthcare, to give Watson the ability to see and read vast amounts of medical images. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) recently worked with IBM Watson to teach it MSK care protocols. In the project, Watson consumed approximately 15 million pages of medical content, looked at 200 medical textbooks, read 300 medical journals, and understood care pathways at MSK.
Watson is speeding the time to drug discovery and enabling radiologists to read faster thus improving their workload. Additionally, Watson is helping track genomes of diseases, finding better treatments, helping improve outcomes, and keeping more patients out of the hospital and on to living healthier lives. Watson Health is only 7 months old, but already has close to 100 million EHRs, 30 billion images, 100 ecosystem partners, and is growing so rapidly that it’s hard to tell what it will look like in 10 years, but it is sure to make some serious waves in the healthcare industry.

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