IBM Watson supercomputer turns to medicine


Ryan Jaslow
CBS
May 23, 2011

After battling the flesh-and-blood know-it-alls on “Jeopardy!,” IBM supercomputer Watson is getting ready for its next big challenge – helping doctors navigate the increasingly complex world of medicine.

Watson is being groomed to be a bedside medical tool – digesting medical textbooks, journals, treatment guidelines as well as information from patients’ blogs to diagnose illnesses quickly and accurately.

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IBM says Watson, with its ability to understand language, can absorb questions about a patient’s symptoms and medical history and quickly suggest diagnoses and treatments. They envision several uses, including a doctor speaking into a handheld device to get answers at a patient’s bedside or to serve as a second opinion. Watson could also link to electronic health records that the federal government wants hospitals to maintain.

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