IBM Watson

Health Tech for $500 and the win, please Alex. The question is “What is IBM Watson technology good for?” Three years ago, Watson won the TV quiz show Jeopardy! Its ability to process natural language and apply cognitive computing technology has proven to be of practical value in a range of commercial applications in addition to winning at game shows. Now comes news that IBM is partnering with GenieMD to put Watson to work on helping users manage their own healthcare.

According to GenieMD, more than 60 million people in the U.S. are unpaid family caregivers. As a result of caring for others, they are more likely to become ill themselves, cost more in higher healthcare premiums, and result in more than $25 billion in revenues lost to reduced productivity every year. GenieMD lets users interact with a Big Data collection of medical information and advice, using natural language queries to access the data. The result is that they are better informed with the latest information, and can thus aid healthcare professionals in more effective and efficient treatment strategies. Watson has the ability to learn through input from users, drawing on the experience of prior interactions, and acquiring new information.

Other healthcare organizations are partnering with IBM Watson, including Memorial Sloan Kettering, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and Mayo Clinic. As a result, users and professionals alike will have increasing access to a growing collection of knowledge. Being able to interact with this information through simple user interfaces and getting swift results even on small handheld (or wearable) devices could usher in a new era of awareness and efficient response to a wide range of health issues.