For IBM’s dear Dr Watson, diagnosing diseases is elementary
Google is able to tell that you are planning to buy a house long before you actually do. It is able to analyse all the data from your house buying related searches. So that means it looks at your searches for estate agent, mortgages, schools, and public transport. It then compares the findings with information on other users of a similar profile to find a pattern.
Thomas Goetz recently reminded us, in his compelling TED talk, that further advances in medicine are principally an information challenge and not a science one. In other words, how can mankind make sense of all the health related data we are generating so as to draw insights to provide better healthcare. Think of the wealth of information created by the medical profession and researchers which sits in totally separate databases and continues to grow exponentially.
Consider this stat: 90% of the medical data generated to date has been created in the last two years!
Making sense of all this data is being made possible in part by Moore’s Law, as computers are able to process more and more information. The cloud is also emerging as a massive depository of medical data that can be more easily connected, and which can be more easily accessed by doctors and other medical professionals.
Supercomputers, such as IBM’s Watson, are now facilitating deep analysis and evidence‐based reasoning for more precise diagnosis and clinical decision‐making. IBM’s Watson is able to read 200 million papers in three seconds. This makes it possible for it to process patients’ electronic health records, genomics, clinical data and health care professionals’ peer‐reviewed publications. It is also able to monitor real time data and new articles as they are published.
By taking advantage of these technologies, medical scientists are, for example, improving leukaemia treatment through data mining medical literature. Health insurers are using Watson to speed pre‐approval processes for patients. Teaching hospitals have begun working with IBM Watson to improve medical school training, where they are collaborating to offer doctors real‐time analysis of patient records to improve care.
Apps that allow doctors and medical practitioners to look up databases containing information on thousands of diseases, including signs, symptoms and lab findings, and/or query supercomputers such as IBM Watson are now a reality.
The doctor is often guesstimating what is wrong with us based on our answers to his/her questions, and knowledge. Imagine our future visits to our doctor, where our data, collected by ourselves via our device and/or wearable, along with our symptoms can be cross referenced with data from other medical science databases to support our doctor in reaching a much more accurate diagnosis without necessarily having to send you off to have various tests. [iDisrupted pages 226 & 227]
Technology and medical science advances are disrupting healthcare as we know it. Our book called iDisrupted, to be released on Nov 13, will give greater insight in the breadth and depth of technology disruption in healthcare and other aspects of our lives. iDisrupted is available to pre-order on Amazon now.
Julien de Salaberry