Watson Goes To Work For WellPoint
The health insurer, WellPoint, will use IBM's Watson technology to suggest treatment options and diagnosis to doctors.
The Wall Street Journal: WellPoint's New Hire. What Is Watson?
WellPoint Inc. and International Business Machines Corp. are set to announce a deal on Monday for the health insurer to use the Watson technology, the first time the high-profile project will result in a commercial application. WellPoint said it plans to use Watson's data-crunching to help suggest treatment options and diagnoses to doctors. It is part of a far broader push in the health industry to incorporate computerized guidance into care, as doctors and hospitals adopt electronic medical records and other digital tools that can record, track and check their work (Mathews, 9/12).
The Associated Press/The Seattle Times: IBM Putting Watson To Work In Health Insurance
IBM's supercomputer system, best known for trouncing the world's best "Jeopardy!" players on TV, is being tapped by one of the nation's largest health insurers to help diagnose medical problems and authorize treatments. WellPoint Inc., which has 34.2 million members, will integrate Watson's lightning speed and deep health care database into its existing patient information, helping it choose among treatment options and medicines. … The WellPoint application will combine data from three sources: a patient's chart and electronic records that a doctor or hospital has, the insurance company's history of medicines and treatments, and Watson's huge library of textbooks and medical journals. IBM says the computer can then sift through it all and answer a question in moments, providing several possible diagnoses or treatments, ranked in order of the computer's confidence, along with the basis for its answer (Fitzgerald, 9/11).
In other technology news —
(Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.) Star Tribune: The Doctor Of Digitalization
Think of Dr. Farzad Mostashari as the nation's top health geek. As President Obama's recently named national coordinator for Health Information Technology, Mostashari's job is to lead a $2 billion effort to get the nation's health care system wired. The main push is to help hospitals, doctors and pharmacists computerize patients' records and to create a secure way to exchange them. But there's also a push to train the next generation of health information technology workers at the nation's community colleges and universities. Minnesota's participation includes millions in grants that are going to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Normandale Community College in Bloomington, the University of Minnesota and Key Health Alliance, a "regional extension program" involving Stratis Health, National Rural Health Resource Center and the College of St. Scholastica to help rural doctors and hospitals in Minnesota and North Dakota create electronic health records (Crosby, 9/10).