IBM’s Watson does healthcare: Data as the foundation for cognitive systems for population health
Watson is IBM’s big bet on AI, and healthcare is a prime domain for present and future applications. We take an inside look at Watson, why and how it can benefit healthcare, and what kind of data is used by whom in this process.
IBM’s big bet on Watson is all over the news. This week’s World of Watson event helped bring Watson to the limelight, with attendees from 110+ countries. If numbers impress you, Ginni Rometty’s number-dropping in WoW’s keynote should leave you impressed indeed.
Watson is meant to be positioned as the leader in a market worth $32 billion (cognitive systems), help organizations make better decisions worth an estimated $2 trillion, and make a difference in the lives of nearly one billion people through its 700 clients.
200 million of these people are consumers, and another 200 million are patients, but according to Teva, one of IBM’s major partners in healthcare, the “consumerization” of healthcare is the driving force behind its ongoing transformation: consumers expect to get everything here and now, in a way that is convenient, affordable, transparent and adjusted to their needs. They will not accept healthcare they do not understand, costs too much, and requires them to leave the comfort of their home too often.
Spyros Kotoulas, research manager for IBM Health and Person-Centric Knowledge Systems, says “we are therefore moving from treating a set of problems to treating a person. Traditionally, IT in healthcare is there to (a) record and share information and (b) provide tools to help users make better decisions, based on clinical evidence.