IBM, Watson and Cognitive Computing

08/09/2016 7:00 am EST


Rob DeFrancesco

Founder, Tech-Stock Prospector

The total amount of medical data is on track within four years to double every three months, suggests Rob DeFrancesco, editor of Tech Stock Prospector.

The majority of that data will be unstructured, making it quite difficult for most systems to handle.

But it won’t be much trouble for Watson Health, a cognitive computing platform launched last year by International Business Machines (IBM).

IBM Watson Health can read through 40 million documents in just 15 seconds. The system is at the forefront of healthcare IT innovation.

Cognitive systems, involving machine learning, are capable of analyzing high volumes of data and understanding complex questions posed in natural language.

The systems get smarter over time. With Watson Health Cloud, healthcare organizations are able to take previously disparate data sets and combine them to create insights that help a broad range of health decisions.

For physicians, that means greater diagnostic certainty and improved patient care. Clinical researchers are able to speed through unstructured data sets with a much higher degree of accuracy.

For hospital administrators, the benefits take the form of higher quality treatments at reduced costs.

Last April, IBM paid $2.6 billion for Truven Health Analytics, a provider of cloud-based healthcare data and analytics. It was the company’s fourth major health data-related acquisition since Watson Health’s debut in April 2015.

Truven brings with it more than 8,500 clients — ranging from health plans and hospitals to life sciences companies and government agencies. With Truven in the product portfolio, IBM now has more than 300 million patient records.

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By Rob DeFrancesco, Editor of Tech Stock Prospector

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