‘New ca­reers for $100, Alex’

Modern Healthcare - - Outliers -

“Jeop­ardy!” was just the warmup. Wat­son is go­ing from palling around with Alex Tre­bek and his brainy con­tes­tants to in­sur­ance con­sul­tant.

IBM’s su­per­com­puter sys­tem, best known for trounc­ing the world’s best “Jeop­ardy!” play­ers on TV, is be­ing tapped by one of the na­tion’s largest health in­sur­ers to help di­ag­nose med­i­cal prob­lems and au­tho­rize treat­ments.

Well­Point, which has 34.2 mil­lion mem­bers, will in­te­grate Wat­son’s light­ning speed and deep health­care data­base into its ex­ist­ing pa­tient in­for­ma­tion, help­ing it choose among treat­ment op­tions and medicines.

“This very much fits into the sweet spot of what we en­vi­sioned for the ap­pli­ca­tions of Wat­son,” says Manoj Sax­ena, gen­eral man­ager of an IBM divi­sion look­ing at how the com­puter can be mar­keted.

Lori Beer, an ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent at In­di­anapo­lis-based Well­Point, agrees. “It’s re­ally a game-changer in health­care,” she says.

The Well­Point ap­pli­ca­tion will com­bine data from three sources: a pa­tient’s chart and elec­tronic records from a doc­tor or hos­pi­tal, the in­sur­ance com­pany’s his­tory of medicines and treat­ments, and Wat­son’s huge li­brary of text­books and med­i­cal jour­nals. Wor­ried that a com­puter could be a lit­tle, um, too coldly an­a­lyt­i­cal? Beer says pa­tients needn’t worry that Wat­son will be used to help in­sur­ers deny ben­e­fits. If a doc­tor veers from Wat­son’s di­ag­no­sis or treat­ment rec­om­men­da­tions, the in­surer would have a clin­i­cian re­view the case as it cur­rently does. It won’t base a claim de­ci­sion solely on Wat­son.

“Ul­ti­mately, the goal here is not deny­ing treat­ment but get­ting peo­ple to the right care,” Beer says, adding that Wat­son was not de­signed to re­place hu­mans.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.