IBM Research Shows Off Two New Watson-Related Medical Projects
Moreover, as medical experts interact with WatsonPaths, the system will use machine-learning to improve and scale the ingestion of medical information. WatsonPaths incorporates feedback from the physician who can drill down into the medical text to decide if certain chains of evidence are more important, provide additional insights and information, and weigh which paths of inferences the physician determines lead to the strongest conclusions. Through this collaboration loop, WatsonPaths compares its actions with that of the medical expert so the system can get “smarter.” WatsonPaths, when ready, will be available to Cleveland Clinic faculty and students as part of their problem-based learning curriculum and in clinical lab simulations, IBM said. Meanwhile, IBM and Cleveland Clinic are using Watson EMR Assistant to explore how to navigate and process electronic medical records to unlock hidden insights within the data, with the goal of helping physicians make more informed and accurate decisions about patient care. Historically, the potential of EMRs has not been realized due to the discrepancies of how the data is recorded, collected and organized across health care systems and organizations. The massive amount of health data within EMRs alone presents tremendous value in transforming clinical decision making, but can also be difficult to absorb. For example, analyzing a single patient’s EMR can be the equivalent of going through up to 100MB of structured and unstructured data in the form of plain text that can span a lifetime of clinical notes, lab results and medication history, IBM said.Company officials said the goal of the Watson EMR Assistant research project is to develop technologies that will be able to collate key details in the past medical history and present to the physician a problem list of clinical concerns that may require care and treatment, highlight key lab results and medications that correlate with the problem list, and classify important events throughout the patient’s care presented within a chronological timeline. IBM and Cleveland Clinic are discussing the role of Watson for the future of medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Medical Innovation Summit being held October 14-16 in Cleveland.
Watson’s natural language expertise allows it to process an EMR with a deep semantic understanding of the content and can help medical practitioners quickly and efficiently sift through the massive amounts of complex and disparate data and better make sense of it all. The system’s natural language processing and machine learning technologies are being applied to begin analyzing whole EMRs with the goal of surfacing information and relationships within the data in a visualization tool that may be useful to a medical practitioner, IBM said.