Five years after killing it with their Jeopardy win, IBM’s Watson is still putting human intelligence to shame. I read this morning that Watson was able to correctly diagnose a 60-year-old woman’s rare form of leukemia within 10 minutes — a medical mystery that doctors had missed for months at the University of Tokyo.

When a Japanese patient had some form of leukemia that doctors were unable to pinpoint, IBM's Watson was brought in to compare their genetic records to more than 20 million others against this patient's. Fortunately, doing so proved successful, as the patient's exact variant was found. Not only that, Watson's helped this patient receive treatment a lot quicker than they would have, and best of all? It proved successful.

While doctors are able to diagnose cancers like leukemia and its many variants, it takes a lot of time, and is no doubt really tedious. It could even lead to some inaccurate diagnoses in some cases. In this particular case, the doctors were left confounded, but Watson managed to churn through an immense amount of data quick enough to give the doctors the exact information they needed.

Almost a year ago, IBM bought Merge Healthcare for $1 billion. The acquisition gave IBM access to more than 30 billion medical images from over 7,500 hospitals and clinics in the U.S. that used to belong to Merge. Most would have no use for these images, However, with Watson these images might help spot critical information or spot patterns in data involving large amounts of information.

Watson utilizes what IBM calls,  deep learning. Using Watson’s deep learning abilities, it might be possible for the software to recognize important, but sometimes missed, features of a disease. IBM understands that health is influenced by many different factors and that in order to optimize health outcomes a whole picture of the patient is needed. Watson is able to build systems of care around the whole person, uncovering pin point insights into all of the individuals ailments – psychological, social and clinical. 

Healthy,  lives begin with the individual at the center. Taking this person centered approach makes it possible to deliver integrated services, efficiently with individualized plans - where and when it's needed - including at the point of care or on a mobile device. The goal is to improve outcomes, lower costs and drive wellness in every community. 

Primarily, it’s about strengthening relationships in a health care setting. I can’t know everything about evidence or [a patient’s] chart. To have Watson remind me or prompt me will be very important in getting the most out of every visit to the doctor."  Dr. Kyu Rhee, chief health officer for IBM Watson Health

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