Starting Jan. 1, 2017, IBM U.S. will offer its employees who are fighting cancer the possibility to use Watson to access information about the most appropriate treatment and best clinical trial options.
The policy, which is made in collaboration with clinical consultation provider Best Doctors, qualifies employees and their families to access Watson's oncology information to get insight on cancer treatment, under IBM's U.S. medical plan.
The team from Best Doctors will use patients' permission to gather medical records in order to supply Watson with relevant data and for the machine to generate a report that is going to be reviewed by the best oncologists in the Best Doctors network. The result of this analysis will be given to the patients and their doctors.
"For anyone receiving the diagnosis, or supporting a loved one through it, cancer can be overwhelming," said Kyu Rhee, chief health officer of IBM Watson Health.
Aside from being a very personal healthcare plan, this idea of involving Watson into the cancer screening and treating process also represents a statement on the value of IBM's employees. The Watson services will use Watson for Genomics, Watson for Oncology and Watson for Clinical Trial Matching.
Watson for Oncology offers clinicians treatment based on the latest research and evidence related to gastric, colorectal, lung and breast cancers. Watson for Genomics gives the doctors insight into the potential causes of the cancerous tumors and genomic mutations. Watson for Clinical Trial Matching is a possibility for the patients to match with relevant medical trials for their problems.
The information services company Best Doctors was created in 1989 by Harvard physicians, with the purpose of helping people who undergo difficult treatments.
The company aims to review diagnostics and treatments as to best suit patients' needs. With more than 36 million members guided by medical experts, analytics and technology, the company's core focus is to improve people's health and treatments.
Watson is an artificial intelligence-based supercomputer created by IBM, designed as a question answering machine and used in many industries. Previous projects involved focus on the educational sector. Concerning health, the programs involved are designed under the umbrella of cognitive healthcare, with focus on the latest scientific discoveries and updates when it comes to treatment.
"IBM Watson Health is pioneering a new partnership between humanity and technology with the goal of transforming global health," as the official page states. The AI can read 40 million documents in 15 seconds. With partners like Apple, CVS and Under Armour, the machine has been positively received by over 80 percent of the medical professionals.
The announcement was made shortly after the IBM's Watson partnered with Siemens to shift the medical paradigm in the U.S. from fee-for-treatment to value-based care.