IBM Supercomputer Watson Will Power Healthcare Apps

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The team behind IBM's Watson supercomputer and several healthcare startups are working together to optimize their applications, according to MedPage Today.

Most remember Watson as the computer that defeated “Jeopardy” champion Ken Jennings, but Mike Rhodin, senior vice president of the IBM Watson Group, is looking for more business-oriented applications for the cognitive computing technology.

The Watson team met with developers at several healthcare startups to see how their technology could help. One of them was @Point of Care mobile platform, which is a decision tool for connecting clinicians, caregivers and patients. Together, they recently launched the Multiple Sclerosis @Point of Care app. To power the platform with Watson, developers took six weeks to compile the body of knowledge that Watson would have to “learn” in order to answer questions. This body consisted of 1,500 Q&A pairs based on content from @Point of Care, PubMed, CDC and the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America.

The app answers clinical questions with an 82% likelihood that the given answer is best.

Two other healthcare companies are working with Watson technology to optimize their applications. GenieMD uses Watson to improve management of chronic diseases, and Welltok uses Watson to help consumers optimize their health. However, neither is live at the moment.

IBM's Watson Comes to the Bedside
IBM Supercomputer Watson Will Power Healthcare Apps

If a physician or a patient could tap a clinical question into a smartphone and get an answer—not just a list of references or websites—and that answer came with a 82% likelihood that it is the "best" answer, would it make a difference in clinical care?

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