Computers like WATSON will change how future doctors diagnose and treat Canadians, says IBM expert

Computers like WATSON will change how future doctors diagnose and treat 
Canadians, says IBM expert 
IBM Speaker to address new Royal College task force examining technology in 
health care 
OTTAWA, Nov. 6, 2013 /CNW/ - Computers like IBM's Watson will drastically 
change how future physicians' currently make diagnoses and recommend 
treatments, says an international expert addressing a new Royal College task 
force examining how health care can best take advantage of today's 
technological innovations. 
Made famous on Jeopardy!, Watson is a cognitive computing system with the 
ability to understand natural language, learn from millions of pages of 
journals rapidly and hypothesize possible medical diagnoses and treatments. 
Jeffrey Betts, the head of IBM's Chronic Disease Management and Personalized 
Healthcare activities, will discuss its health care potential as the inaugural 
speaker at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada's Innovation 
and Technology Task Force. 
"Watson can never replace the expertise, intelligence and experience of a 
Royal College specialist physician," says Betts. "But it can make sure your 
physician has the latest information synthesized and available at their 
One of the problems that doctors currently face is the speed of new 
information being made available in their field of expertise. Over a million 
articles were abstracted in PubMed last year, noted Betts. Cognitive computers 
such as IBM's Watson will enable a physician to analyze the breadth of 
research and the latest information to help make the best possible diagnosis 
for their patient. 
The question of how to incorporate emerging technologies like Watson into 
health care delivery and teaching is something that the Royal College would 
like to answer. On Wednesday, November 6, 2013, the Royal College will 
officially launch its Task Force on Innovation and Technology, which will 
explore how the medical system can best employ available, cost-effective 
technologies that improve Canadian health care. 
"To practice effectively now and into the future, we need to have a better 
understanding of technology trends, and how to leverage them into the health 
system," said task force co-chair Susan Brien, MD, FRCSC, Royal College 
director of research, innovation and scholarship. "Health care innovations can 
play a huge role in enhancing patient communication and information, access to 
care, education and new practices and tools." 
A key function of the Royal College's task force will be to work with industry 
players in medical innovation and technology, to learn about research and 
development trends and make suggestions on areas of critical need for 
specialist physicians. 
"The role of the Innovation and Technology Task Force is to improve Canadian 
health care by supporting specialists in practice with innovative 
technologies," says Dave Perfetti, the Royal College's chief information 
officer and task force co-chair. "It's important that we ensure that new 
technology is incorporated into medical practice and teaching without 
jeopardizing patient safety. We want to know how and to what degree 
technologies with implications for medicine should be embraced." 
For further information:
The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons' Innovation and Technology Task 
Force meets on November 6 and 7, 2013 in (Fairmont Hotel, Vancouver). Jeffrey 
Betts will be the keynote speaker at 8 p.m. on November 6, at a dinner held 
(Fairmont Hotel, Vancouver). The task force meets all day Thursday. 
About the Royal College 
The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada 
( is the home of specialty care in Canada, setting 
the setting the standards for postgraduate medical education, supporting the 
continuing professional development of 44,000 members, and shaping health 
system innovations nationwide.

SOURCE  Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada 
Media contact: 
Sandy Shearman, Communications Manager 613-730-8177 ext 
To learn more about IBM's Watson contact Leslie Plant, IBM External  
Communications 416.478.9840, 
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CO: Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
ST: Ontario
-0- Nov/06/2013 15:45 GMT
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