A Checkup for Cognitive Computing in Healthcare

Cognitive ComputingWhen you think of your favorite sci-fi stories – fictional tales with visions of chrome-plated future and automated lifestyles – it’s interesting how many of them wrestle with the dark side of a technology-driven future. For every adventurous Star Trek episode or lighthearted revisit of “The Jetsons,” the genre also offers a “Twilight Zone” episode or “Brave New World” that sends chills down your spine. For a more paranoid audience, certain aspects of modern technology can feel like the script from a classic sci-fi show – even the ones with darker twists. However, as once-fictional ideas turn into real-world solutions, it’s fascinating to see how advances in fields such as artificial intelligence and cognitive computing are making positive strides in the world.

For example, as analyst Janakiram MSV recently discussed in Forbes, cognitive computing platforms from IBM and Microsoft are making waves in the healthcare space. By partnering with hospitals, healthcare specialists and research facilities, the tech companies are leading a charge into a data-driven, informed future of human health.

IBM has been working to apply Watson technologies to the healthcare space since the late ‘90s. Watson, a platform originally created for developers, has been aligning with enterprise needs for years – the company offers Watson as a set of open APIs and SaaS products, the variety of which make it possible for any team to benefit from the platform’s understanding, reasoning, learning and interactive capabilities. As Jankarian MSV highlights, Watson’s contributions to healthcare have been particularly monumental:

  • IBM partnered with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York to design IBM Watson for Oncology, a platform that analyzes physicians’ work to deliver evidence-based treatment options for clinicians;
  • India’s Manipal Hospitals uses Watson for Oncology to speed and enhance patient care; and
  • The American Cancer society conducts data analysis and builds personalized oncology treatment plans using Watson.

These examples represent the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Watson’s potential (and that of cognitive computing technology) in modern healthcare. IBM defines its healthcare mission as one that will “empower leaders, advocates and influencers…on their paths to solving the world’s biggest health challenges.” Meanwhile, as Jankarian MSV reports, the market for artificial intelligence in healthcare applications will grow with a 42 percent CAGR until 2021. In that time period, we’re likely to see a wealth of opportunities flourishing in the space, each with a mission to make healthcare research and treatment a faster, more productive and more patient-friendly process.

Learn how IBM technology is making strides across all industries – including yours.


Lief Morin
Key Information Systems, Inc.