According to our analyst Shara Rosen in her new report BioInformatics in IVD: " In February 2013, IBM’s Watson supercomputer graduated from its medical residency and is being offered commercially to doctors and health insurance companies. IBM Corp., the health insurer WellPoint Inc. and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) announced two Watson-based applications -- one to help diagnose and treat lung cancer and one to help manage health insurance decisions and claims.
Both applications take advantage of the speed, huge database and language skill the computer demonstrated in defeating the best human Jeopardy! players on television.
In both applications, doctors or insurance company workers will access Watson through a tablet or computer. Watson will compare a patient's medical records to what it has learned and make several recommendations (not make a decision) in decreasing order of confidence.
In the insurance program, it will consider what treatment should be authorized for payment. WellPoint is already using the insurance application in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Wisconsin. It will be selling both applications - at prices still to be negotiated - and will compensate IBM under a contract between the two companies.
In the cancer program, the computer will be considering what treatment is most likely to succeed. The system uses Watson's computational and natural language processing abilities as well as MSKCC's clinical expertise and cancer information to create an evidence-based decision support system that will help doctors create personalized cancer diagnostics and make treatment recommendations for their patients that are based on current evidence, the partners said.
The partners have already launched the first application to help diagnose and treat lung cancer, which will focus on treatment based on information in MSKCC’s electronic health record, which includes genomic and molecular information, clinicians' notes and observations, and relevant published literature.
The lung cancer program is being adopted by two medical groups, the Maine Center for Cancer Medicine and WestMed in New York's Westchester County.
Applications for breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers are in development"