Feeds

back to article IBM’s Jeopardy super hired to search healthcare data

IBM has signed a deal with health insurance provider WellPoint to use Big Blue’s Watson question-and-answer system to help doctors decide what’s wrong with you – and offer possible remedies. The Watson machine – which famously beat humans at the popular US game show Jeopardy! earlier this year – will now be put to task scanning …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Anonymous Coward

And the diagnosis is...

"It's not lupis. It's never lupis. Now give me my Vicodin!"

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Your right, but not in the way you meant

It's really never is lupis, because when it is then its Lupus.

1
0
Silver badge
Pint

Now that's a bit more interesting than general knowledge quizzes.

As some-one with major health problems which went undiagnosed for over three years, I feel this can only lead to better health care, and better practice in health providers.

I'm sure there are many other applications where knowledge is advancing at a rate where it's impossible to keep up with developments without computer assistance.

A beer for Mr Blue!

0
0
Anonymous Coward

If...

If it comes up with answers that are *better* than medical experts can ever comprehend, how can we ever be certain it isn't wrong?

If it comes up with wrong answers, who would then have the confidence to assert that - in their expert opinion- it was acutally malfunctioning rather than offering new insights?

0
0

I didn't see the bit about '*better* than medical experts can ever comprehend'.

From the article, it seems the idea is that it will come to the same conclusion as a doctor would, if the doctor had all the relevant info and analysed it thoroughly. A doctor will then check the conclusion, and say "By Jove, I think it's got it".

At least initially. I imagine the long-term hope is automatic diagnosis without a human doctor at all.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

I was thinking more...

that if it is basing its decisions on more information than a doctor could ever read and digest...

If it finds a previously unknown relationship between a range of symptoms and an illness - but the catch is you need to read 75m medical records to understand why it recommends a heart transplant - how do you know whether it is right or simply malfunctioning?

0
0
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Well you obviously don't take its answer at face value.

It is a diagnostic assistance tool designed to give suggestions. You still need to investigate that possibility with further tests and analysis.

0
0
Holmes

Tried this once

3 years ago. Ended up with a gigantic Bayesian tree with only a hundred or so diseases simply because you don't always present with the same symptoms, which screwed over our false negative rate for a lot of the early work. Also why we got rid of psych disorders, too many possibilities to code for without more research than a idle side project could be afforded. Great fun while it lasted though. Wonder what the false positive rate will be when compared to doctors before Med tests are administered.

0
0
JDX
Gold badge

Can it read doctors' handwriting?

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Dr Watson I presume?

1
0

Does it still answer in Jeopardy! format?

"What is acute angina?"

2
0
Silver badge
Coat

Ah, that's one which...

... oh, sorry, you said *an*gina...

0
0
Silver badge
Thumb Up

"What is acute angina?"

One with a nice bum I suppose.

0
0
Bronze badge
Terminator

Where's the ROTM angle?

Surely giving the enemy our collected medical histories is only going to make it easier for them to conquer us.

2
0
Big Brother

Wow, this is scary, but not because of the RoTM factor...

Read the opening sentence again. Twice. You seeing what I'm seeing?

-- -- -- IBM has signed a deal *** with health insurance provider WellPoint *** to use Big Blue’s Watson question-and-answer system to *** help doctors decide *** what’s wrong with you...

I envision the conversation going something like this:

-- -- Insurance Adjuster: "Well, Doctor, wha'd'ya think about patient 656-5827B?"

-- -- Doctor Livingstone: "Based on symptoms, obstructed or dysfunctional gallbladder; suggest surgical removal followed by post-operative enzyme level monitoring and dietary changes"

-- -- Insurance Adjuster: "Watson, your analysis of patient 656-5827B?"

-- -- Watson: "Simple stomach ulcers and/or gastroesophageal reflux disease; suggest treatment with standard course of generic proton-pump inhibitor medication and stress-reducing lifestyle changes."

-- -- (Insurance Adjuster thinks: "Watson's diagnosis is cheaper; we'll go with its recommendation.")

-- -- Insurance Adjuster (out loud): "OK, we'll pay $75.00 per month to cover acid reflux control prescriptions. If 5827B's condition doesn't improve within 90 days, we'll revisit the case. Next..."

Now, if Watson's diagnoses were 100 percent filtered through the patients' doctors before they landed on the desks of the insurance adjusters, I wouldn't have a problem with it; I believe that Weak AI like Watson can go a long way toward helping doctors make the right call the first time around.

But that isn't what's going to happen. Instead, the insurance companies will use Watson's capabilities as a hedge against doctors recommending expensive but effective cutting-edge treatments for their patients, and steer them toward more prosaic and less costly solutions.

0
0
Thumb Up

Similar diagnosing software exists

Similar medical software exists, see one famous example used for infectious diseases, GIDEON here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Infectious_Disease_Epidemiology_Network

Quote: "...generates a Bayesian ranked differential diagnosis based on signs, symptoms, laboratory tests, country of origin and incubation period - and can be used for diagnosis support and simulation of all infectious diseases in all countries."

So GIDEON doesn't give a single answer like on Jeopardy, but a ranked list, which the infectious disease specialist uses as an aid to diagnosis.

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.