IBM's Watson Helps Employees Tackle Cancer

IBMis enabling its US employees fighting cancer to tap into its supercomputer Watson for insights into their cancer treatment as well as potential clinical trial options.

IBM said on Tuesday, "Through a unique collaboration with Best Doctors, an expert clinical consultation provider, qualifying IBMers and their family members will have access to Watson's suite of oncology offerings for insights on cancer treatment options, when covered under IBM's US medical plan. The benefit will be available as of 1 January 2017."

With the patient's permission, the Best Doctors team will collect medical records and feed relevant data into Watson. Watson will then generate a report, which will be reviewed by world-renowned expert oncologists in the Best Doctors network. The final assessment will be provided to the patient and their treating oncologist.

''For anyone receiving the diagnosis, or supporting a loved one through it, cancer can be overwhelming,'' said Kyu Rhee, MD, chief health officer, IBM Watson Health.

''Now a second opinion staffed by the powerful combination of Watson and world-renowned oncologists in the Best Doctors network is readily available. With this first-ever US rollout of the technology, the full breadth and depth of Watson's services can benefit an entire population of individuals who need them,'' Rhee added.

The Watson services provided through Best Doctors will include Watson for Oncology, Watson for Genomics, and Watson for Clinical Trial Matching.

Watson for Oncology provides clinicians with evidence-based treatment recommendations related to breast, lung, colorectal and gastric cancers.

"We are delighted to continue IBM's leadership in employee health and wellness benefits with these new Watson Oncology offerings,'' said Barbara Brickmeier, vice president of employee benefits, IBM. ''The promise of Watson and IBM's healthcare moonshot becomes very real and very personal with this announcement.''

Watson for Clinical Trial Matching helps clinicians match eligible patients with relevant clinical trials.

Watson for Genomics analyses the genomic profile from a patient's tumor and provides clinicians information about potential cancer-causing mutations, providing insights on targeted therapies.

IBM is also using the power of Watson to help its US employees with personalised decision making for annual benefits enrollment, and offers additional Watson-infused services such as Welltok's health optimisation platform, CaféWell Concierge.