Nuance software on IBM's Watson supercomputer to help in health care

IBM plans  to continue its longtime collaboration with speech-recognition software developer Nuance Communications to bring analytics capabilities of supercomputer Watson into the health care field.

Nuance, the maker of speech-recognition software Dragon, will feed its CLU (Clinical Language Understanding) applications into IBM's Watson hardware. A research agreement to the effect was announced between the two companies yesterday.

Meanwhile, the supercomputer will also be provided with Deep Question Answering (QA), Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning capabilities by IBM.

According to Dr Eliot Siegel, director of the Maryland Imaging Research Technologies Laboratory (MIRTL) at the UMD School of Medicine, the combination of CLU language capabilities of Nuance in a supercomputer such as Watson could lead to ushering in the next generation of EHRs and decision-support applications.

"We believe that this has the potential to usher in a new era of computer-assisted personalised medicine into health care to improve diagnostic accuracy, efficiency and patient safety," Siegel said in a statement.

A commercial product would be available in 18 to 24 months, according to IMB and Nuance.