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IBM Watson and Health Analytics

Studies show that as much as 80% of healthcare data is going unused. However, with IBM Watson unstructured and underutilized data may be a thing of the past with the help of health analytics. Many companies have trouble finding the right consultants to help them with heath analytics.

The amount of healthcare data is astronomical and beyond the scope of what the human eye can read and decipher. In fact, the volume of healthcare data is estimated to be around 150 extrabytes. IBM puts it in perspective: If the data was placed on CDs the tower of discs would reach Mars.

Unlike humans, Watson can analyze data at a rate that makes the extraordinary amount of data manageable. In fact, Watson can read 200 million pages of text in only 3 seconds. The abilities of Watson is everchanging and continues to expand. Watson’s fluency in 9 languages allows the technology to extend borders and encourage collaboration between physicians.

Unlike other systems, Watson can compare patient data with medical research and compute words beyond simple data collecting and processing. Watson can take weeks of research and compile results in minutes, producing crucial patient treatment suggestions. In time-sensitive health matters, Watson can be a lifesaver.

Watson has already been making an impact in Oncology. Watson teamed up with Quest Diagnostics regarding cancer gene sequencing. Watson takes the information of the sequenced patient tumor provided by Quest Diagnostics and analyzes the data to identify mutations that may be treatable. Watson compares the DNA from healthy tissue with cancer cells to determine what treatment would be appropriate and what treatment should be avoided.

In addition, the New York genome center has teamed up with IBM to create a national cancer tumor database which would document how patients react to treatment. As of now it includes data from roughly 200 New York patients but hopes to grow in the near future. Gathering this type of data can lead to advances in how to properly fight cancer, especially for patients who have failed to respond to more conventional treatment.

IBM Watson has also tackled diabetes by joining the American Diabetes Association in designing apps that would aid in prevention and management of diabetes. The Medtronic and Watson app would help patients track and control their diabetes on a daily basis. The app can monitor nutrition and insulin levels to gather information in real time. This information can lead to additional discoveries in the correlation between lifestyle and diabetes as well as assist patients with being more aware of their diabetic condition.

Watson isn’t the final solution to fighting diseases but rather a valuable tool that can aid physicians and patients in choosing the appropriate treatment. It will also continue to evolve as information is added. For instance, when Watson analyzes information from specific genes and provides connections between that mutated gene and potential treatments, the physician can relay back to Watson what treatment did in fact work. This information is saved in Watson’s system and allows for a more accurate and comprehensive Watson analysis the next time a similar gene is sequenced.

Watson is expected to continue expanding and encompass other areas of healthcare by bringing crucial data and information to patients and doctors. Healthcare data will no longer be wasted or go unanalyzed but will fulfill a purpose of helping current and future patients obtain optimal treatment. Contact us today for more information regarding health analytics.