Sure, but how's a computer's bedside manner?

March 25, 2011

Having proved its mastery of trivia on ?Jeopardy,? IBM?s supercomputer Watson is moving on to healthcare.

 

Having proved its mastery of trivia on “Jeopardy,” IBM’s supercomputer Watson is moving on to healthcare.

Watson’s developers came to the annual Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) meeting in Orlando, Florida in February with the message that the supercomputer can deliver healthcare answers at an impressive speed.

Watson whipped the competition on “Jeopardy” by using its Deep Question and Answer technology to analyze more than 200 million documents to produce the most probable answer each time a question was asked.

That same technology could be used to process and analyze the more than 10,000 medical papers published each year, says Robert Siconi, director of IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center. With an expanding database of medical knowledge in its servers, Watson would, in many cases, be able to produce answers faster and more accurately than physicians, IBM claims.

“In healthcare, we talk about turning data into knowledge. That’s really what Watson does,” Joe Jasinski, program director of IBM’s Healthcare and Life Sciences Research says on IBM’s Web site.

The company has partnered with eight major universities, including Columbia University Medical Center in New York and the University of Maryland School of Medicine to provide information for Watson’s database.

IBM says it expects to have a commercial product available in 18 to 24 months.

Find out more here.

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