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IBM Watson Hard At Work: New Breakthroughs Transform Quality Care For Patients

NEW YORK, Feb. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- IBM (NYSE: IBM), WellPoint, Inc. (NYSE: WLP) and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center today unveiled the first commercially developed Watson-based cognitive computing breakthroughs.  These innovations stand alone to help transform the quality and speed of care delivered to patients through individualized, evidence based medicine.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130208/NY57025 )(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20090416/IBMLOGO )

The American Cancer Society projects that 1.6 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year alone.  Studies suggest that the complexities associated with healthcare have caused one in five health care patients to receive a wrong or incomplete diagnosis. These statistics, coupled with a data explosion of medical information that is doubling every five years, represents an unprecedented opportunity for the health care industry and next generation cognitive computing systems, to combine forces in new ways to improve how medicine is taught, practiced and paid for. 

For more than a year, IBM has partnered separately with WellPoint and Memorial Sloan-Kettering to train Watson in the areas of oncology and utilization management.  During this time, clinicians and technology experts spent thousands of hours "teaching" Watson how to process analyze and interpret the meaning of complex clinical information using natural language processing all with the goal of helping to improve health care quality and efficiency. 

"IBM's work with WellPoint and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center represents a landmark collaboration in how technology and evidence based medicine can transform the way in which health care is practiced," said Manoj Saxena, IBM General Manager, Watson Solutions.  "These breakthrough capabilities bring forward the first in a series of Watson-based technologies, which exemplifies the value of applying big data and analytics and cognitive computing to tackle the industries most pressing challenges."

Advancing Oncology Through Evidence Based Medicine To date, Watson has ingested more than 600,000+ pieces of medical evidence, two million pages of text from 42 medical journals and clinical trials in the area of oncology research.   Watson has the power to sift through 1.5 million patient records representing decades of cancer treatment history, such as medical records and patient outcomes, and provide to physicians evidence based treatment options all in a matter of seconds.

In less than a year, Memorial Sloan-Kettering has immersed Watson in the complexities of cancer and the explosion of genetic research which has set the stage for changing care practices for many cancer patients with highly specialized treatments based on their personal genetic tumor type.

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