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IBM Research Unveils Two New Watson Related Projects From Cleveland Clinic Collaboration

CLEVELAND, Oct. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- IBM Research (NYSE: IBM) today unveiled two new Watson-related cognitive technologies that are expected to help physicians make more informed and accurate decisions faster and to cull new insights from electronic medical records (EMR).

The projects known as "WatsonPaths" and "Watson EMR Assistant" are the result of a year-long research collaboration with faculty, physicians and students at Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University. Both are key projects that will create technologies that can be leveraged by Watson to advance the technology in the domain of medicine. 

With the WatsonPaths project, IBM scientists have trained the system to interact with medical domain experts in a way that's more natural for them, enabling the user to more easily understand the structured and unstructured data sources the system consulted and the path it took in offering an option. The Watson EMR Assistant project aims to enable physicians to uncover key information from patients' medical records in order to help improve the quality and efficiency of care.

"On Jeopardy! it was not necessarily critical to know how Watson arrived at its answer. But doctors or domain experts in any field will want to understand what information sources Watson consulted, what logic it applied and what inferences it made in arriving at a recommendation," said Eric Brown, IBM Research Director of Watson Technologies. "Through our research collaboration with Cleveland Clinic, we've been able to significantly advance technologies that Watson can leverage to handle more and more complex problems in real time and partner with medical experts in a much more intuitive fashion. These are breakthrough technologies intended to assist future versions of Watson products."

"WatsonPaths is designed to augment the problem-based learning methods that Cleveland Clinic medical students employ in the classroom. The vision is for WatsonPaths to act as a useful guide for students to arrive at the most likely and least likely answers to real clinical problems, but in a classroom setting," said J. Eric Jelovsek, MD, MMEd, Director of the Cleveland Clinic Multidisciplinary Simulation Center. "Of course, it is also easy to visualize how this type of technology could eventually be a tool for physicians to use in real-time clinical scenarios – a powerful guiding reference to consult when diagnosing and identifying the best treatment options."

Using WatsonPaths to support clinical reasoning

WatsonPaths explores a complex scenario and draws conclusions much like people do in real life. When presented with a medical case, WatsonPaths extracts statements based on the knowledge it has learned as a result of being trained by medical doctors and from medical literature.  

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