IBM has announced plans to partner with the Cleveland Clinic to enhance the medical knowledge of its Watson supercomputer, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.
Details of the Initiative
Neil Mehta -- director of education technology at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine and a leader of the initiative -- said that there is a three-year plan for the project and that pilot testing likely will begin in early 2013.
During the pilot testing phase, Watson will learn new techniques that IBM calls TeachWatson to improve its deep question answering ability on health care subjects.
As part of the initiative, students at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine will be divided into two groups:
- A test group that will work with Watson; and
- A control group that will work without the supercomputer (Suchetka, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 10/30).
The test group and Watson will collaborate on medical case studies (Magaw, Crain's Cleveland Business, 10/30). The process aims to help the supercomputer:
- Think analytically;
- Refine its ability to create hypotheses;
- Rank its hypotheses; and
- Suggest strategies for addressing the case studies.
IBM has predicted that the students studying with Watson will make better care decisions than the control group.
Goals of Project
The initiative aims to equip Watson with the decision-making power to help physicians make faster, more accurate patient care decisions.
Mehta said that Watson "will be a partner, a good sidekick" for physicians, adding, "It will be there to help us make sure that we're not missing possibilities, that we're doing a more complete search (of the research) and presenting it in an easy-to-understand manner."
IBM said it hopes the collaboration between Watson and the Cleveland Clinic will lead to the development of a reference tool that could be sold to health care providers around the world (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 10/30).