IBM Watson Hard At Work: New Breakthroughs Transform Quality Care for Patients
IBM, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and WellPoint Bring
Next-Generation Cognitive Computing Advancements, Medical Expertise and
Healthcare Services to the Forefront
NEW YORK, Feb. 8, 2013
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.
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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.
Starting with 1,500 lung cancer cases, Memorial Sloan-Kettering clinicians and
analysts are training Watson to extract and interpret physician notes, lab
results and clinical research, while sharing its profound expertise and
experiences in treating hundreds of thousands of patients with cancer.
"It can take years for the latest developments in oncology to reach all
practice settings. The combination of transformational technologies found in
Watson with our cancer analytics and decision-making process has the potential
to revolutionize the accessibility of information for the treatment of cancer
in communities across the country and around the world," said Craig
B.Thompson, M.D., President of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
"Ultimately, we expect this comprehensive, evidence-based approach will
profoundly enhance cancer care by accelerating the dissemination of
practice-changing research at an unprecedented pace."
The Maine Center for Cancer Medicine and WESTMED Medical Group are the first
two early adopters of the capability. Their oncologists will begin testing the
product and providing feedback to WellPoint, IBM and Memorial Sloan-Kettering
to improve usability.
Speeding Utilization Management to Improve Patient Care
Throughout WellPoint's utilization management pilot, Watson absorbed more than
25,000 test case scenarios and 1,500 real-life cases, and gained the ability
to interpret the meaning and analyze queries in the context of complex medical
data and human and natural language, including doctors notes, patient records,
medical annotations and clinical feedback. In addition, more than 14,700 hours
of hands-on training was spent by nurses who meticulously trained Watson.
Watson continues to learn while on the job, much like a medical resident,
while working with the WellPoint nurses who originally conducted its training.
Watson started processing common, medical procedure requests by providers for
members in WellPoint affiliated health plans in December, and was expanded to
include five provider offices in the Midwest. Watson will serve as a powerful
tool to accelerate the review process between a patient's physician and their
"The health care industry must drive transformation through innovation,
including harnessing the latest technology that will ultimately benefit the
health care consumer," said Lori Beer, WellPoint's executive vice president of
Specialty Businesses and Information Technology. "We believe that WellPoint's
data, knowledge and extensive provider network, combined with the IBM Watson
technology and Memorial Sloan-Kettering's oncological expertise can drive this
Watson-Powered Health Innovations
As a result, IBM, Memorial Sloan-Kettering and WellPoint are introducing the
first commercially based products based on Watson. These innovations represent
a breakthrough in how medical professionals can apply advances in analytics
and natural language processing to "big data," combined with the clinical
knowledge base, including genomic data, in order to create evidence based
decision support systems. These Watson-based systems are designed to assist
doctors, researchers, medical centers, and insurance carriers, and ultimately
enhance the quality and speed of care.
The new products include the Interactive Care Insights for Oncology, powered
by Watson, in collaboration with IBM, Memorial Sloan-Kettering and
WellPoint. The WellPoint Interactive Care Guide and Interactive Care
Reviewer, powered by Watson, designed for utilization management in
collaboration with WellPoint and IBM.
New Interactive Care Insights for Oncology
oThe cognitive systems use insights gleaned from the deep experience of
Memorial Sloan-Kettering clinicians to provide individualized treatment
options based on patient's medical information and the synthesis of a vast
array of updated and vetted treatment guidelines, and published research.
oA first of-its-kind Watson-based advisor, available through the cloud,
that is expected to assist medical professionals and researchers by
helping to identify individualized treatment options for patients with
cancer, starting with lung cancer.
oProvides users with a detailed record of the data and information used to
reach the treatment options.
oOncologists located anywhere can remotely access detailed treatment
options based on updated research that will help them decide how best to
care for an individual patient.
New WellPoint Interactive Care Guide and Interactive Care Reviewer
oDelivers the first Watson-based cognitive computing system anticipated to
streamline the review processes between a patients' physician and their
health plan, potentially speeding approvals from utilization management
professionals, reducing waste and helping ensure evidence-based care is
oExpected to accelerate accepted testing and treatment by shortening
pre-authorization approval time, which means that patients are moving
forward with the first crucial step toward treatment more quickly.
oAnalyzes treatment requests and matches them to WellPoint's medical
policies and clinical guidelines to present consistent, evidence-based
responses for clinical staff to review, in the anticipation of providing
faster, better informed decisions about a patient's care.
oWellPoint has deployed Interactive Care Reviewer to a select number of
providers in the midwest, and believes more than 1,600 providers will be
using the product by the end of the year.
Watson: Then and Now
The IBM Watson system gained fame by beating human contestants on the
television quiz show Jeopardy! almost two years ago. Since that time, Watson
has evolved from a first-of-a-kind status, to a commercial cognitive computing
system gaining a 240 percent improvement in system performance, and a
reduction in the system's physical requirements by 75 percent and can now be
run on a single Power 750 server.
The transformational technology, named after IBM founder Thomas J. Watson, was
developed in IBM's Research Labs. Using advances in natural language
processing and analytics, the Watson technology can process information
similar to the way people think, representing a significant shift in the
ability for organizations to quickly analyze, understand and respond to vast
amounts of Big Data. The ability to use Watson to answer complex questions
posed in natural language with speed, accuracy and confidence has enormous
potential to improve decision making across a variety of industries from
health care, to retail, telecommunications and financial services.
For more information on IBM Watson, please visit www.ibmwatson.com
To join the social discussion about Watson at Rensselaer include the hashtag
Follow Watson on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ibmwatson
For more insights on this story please visit the Smarter Planet blog.
About WellPoint, Inc.
At WellPoint, we believe there is an important connection between our members'
health and well-being—and the value we bring our customers and shareholders.
So each day we work to improve the health of our members and their
communities. And, we can make a real difference since we have more than 36
million people in our affiliated health plans, and nearly 67 million people
served through our subsidiaries. As an independent licensee of the Blue Cross
and Blue Shield Association, WellPoint serves members as the Blue Cross
licensee for California; the Blue Cross and Blue Shield licensee for Colorado,
Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri (excluding 30
counties in the Kansas City area), Nevada, New Hampshire, New York (as the
Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in 10 New York City metropolitan and
surrounding counties and as the Blue Cross or Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee
in selected upstate counties only), Ohio, Virginia (excluding the Northern
Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.), and Wisconsin. In a majority of these
service areas, WellPoint's plans do business as Anthem Blue Cross, Anthem Blue
Cross and Blue Shield, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia and Empire Blue
Cross Blue Shield, or Empire Blue Cross (in the New York service areas).
WellPoint also serves customers throughout the country as UniCare and in
certain markets through our Amerigroup and CareMore subsidiaries. Our 1-800
CONTACTS, Inc. subsidiary offers customers online sales of contact lenses,
eyeglasses and other ocular products. Additional information about WellPoint
is available at www.wellpoint.com.
About Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center is the world's oldest and largest
private institution devoted to prevention, patient care, research, and
education in cancer. Our scientists and clinicians generate innovative
approaches to better understand, diagnose, and treat cancer. Memorial
Sloan-Kettering specialists are leaders in biomedical research and in
translating the latest research to advance the standard of cancer care
worldwide. For more information, go to http://www.mskcc.org
SAFE HARBOR STATEMENT UNDER THE PRIVATE SECURITIES LITIGATION REFORM ACT OF
This press release contains forward-looking information that is intended to be
covered by the safe harbor for "forward-looking statements" provided by the
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"feel(s)", "believe(s)", "will", "may", "anticipate(s)", "intend", "estimate",
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include, but are not limited to, statements regarding plans, objectives and
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statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties, many of which are
difficult to predict and generally beyond our control, that could cause actual
results to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied or projected
by, the forward-looking information and statements. These risks and
uncertainties include technical, business, financial, regulatory and/or legal
issues that may arise in the development and/or implementation of the proposed
Watson healthcare systems. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance
on these forward-looking statements that speak only as of the date hereof.
Except to the extent otherwise required by federal securities law, we do not
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and consider the various disclosures in WellPoint's and IBM's SEC reports.
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