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IBM’s Super Computer, Watson , Goes to Medical School: Artificial Intelligence in Clinical Decision Support

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IBM’s super computer, Watson, is going to medical school at Cleveland Clinic. What Watson has to bring to medicine is the potential for advanced clinical decision support, specifically algorithm-based, Bayesian decision analysis, rule based and expert systems. Several hurdles exist to accomplishing this: acquiring and validating of patient data, modeling of medical knowledge, keeping the data up-to-date, validate and integrate with the workflow. This process fits well with the Learning Healthcare System concept from the Institute of Medicine of taking research on evidence-based medicine into clinical decision support. IBM Watson’s process in medical school will be to improve the inference graphs based on current data through human intervention. Providing clinical decision support is based on EMR data and the medical literature using DeepQA. “The DeepQA project at IBM shapes a grand challenge in Computer Science that aims to illustrate how the wide and growing accessibility of natural language content and the integration and advancement of Natural Language Processing, Information Retrieval, Machine Learning, Knowledge Representation and Reasoning, and massively parallel computation can drive open-domain automatic Question Answering technology to a point where it clearly and consistently rivals the best human performance.” Welcome Artificial intelligence to medicine and specifically clinical decision support. Image: super computer/shutterstock

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