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IBM's Watson Could Be Healthcare Game Changer
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ChrisMurphy
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ChrisMurphy,
User Rank: Author
2/13/2013 | 9:51:08 PM
re: IBM's Watson Could Be Healthcare Game Changer
Don't underestimate the cultural change needed to put such techniques to work in the day to day practice of healthcare. very practically, what's the right step in the patient interaction to bring in the machine? how do you share the results, and debate the machine when your diagnosis goes against it? or instill confidence if you're just agreeing with a machine? Much left to learn.
David Berlind
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David Berlind,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/13/2013 | 6:36:18 PM
re: IBM's Watson Could Be Healthcare Game Changer
The healthcare and pharmaceutical industries have a history of weighing efficacy against cost. Based on what I'm reading in this article, it seems like the efficacy of having a Watson-like interlocutor involved in better healthcare outcomes is undeniable. But the question is, at what cost? Consider the process that a pharmaceutical company uses in considering a new drug for the market. The efficacy of the drug could be undeniable. Testing may have already proven how a significant # of lives could be saved if the company develops the drug and brings it to market. However, if the company foresees significant barriers in bringing the drug to market (barriers that amount to predictable and unpredictable costs), it may back away. Those costs could be development costs, costs to protect the IP (if the IP is even protectable), etc. The company backs away, the drug never makes it to market, and some number of lives that could have been saved are lost.

I for one would be interested to know what sort of cost a hospital or doctor's practice would be expected to bear in order to have access to Watson technology. I saw from the related story (http://www.informationweek.com... that Watson's functionality will be available through the cloud. We have to assume that customers like an oncology clinic will get the benefits of "cloud-enomics" (multi-tenancy, etc) that drive down the cost for customers, thus increasing the likelihood of adoption. But can we know more about those costs to better understand the balance of efficacy v. cost?
cbabcock
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cbabcock,
User Rank: Strategist
2/11/2013 | 10:25:33 PM
re: IBM's Watson Could Be Healthcare Game Changer
Health care is one of the places where a rules-based engine in many cases can sift through well defined patient symptons and come up with a well-defined answer. This is a great place to use computing power to make a preliminary or first diagnosis. In cancer cases, Watson is moving beyond that level to a deeper diagnostic capability. Obviously doctors will have to review its conclusions as a safety check and amend them or intervene in cases where Watson is struggling -- cases that do not fit into known patterns. But humans around the globe share a great similarity of symptons to known diseases and Dr. Watson will be right in many, many cases, given his relentless, machine-command of medical information sources. Charlie Babcock, InformationWeek
J. Nicholas Hoover
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J. Nicholas Hoover,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/11/2013 | 8:48:44 PM
re: IBM's Watson Could Be Healthcare Game Changer
I'm also impressed by the dedication IBM has shown in placing Watson technologies onto commercial servers. This type of technology has application far beyond the healthcare arena, and we're on pace to see the impacts in a short time period.
D. Henschen
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D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
2/11/2013 | 7:48:14 PM
re: IBM's Watson Could Be Healthcare Game Changer
The subtext here is that IBM's top exec thought ahead and made tough calls like selling off the printer business, the hard drive business and the PC business back when those were much tougher calls to make. Investments in Watson began in 2006, and there was no promise of an imminent payoff. In fact, they still have a long way to go, but this is about laying the groundwork for the IT business of 2020 and beyond. That took vision and courage.


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