Watson to the Rescue

October 23, 2013
Lisa Schulmeister, RN, MN, APRN-BC, OCN, FAAN

IBM's computer will be used to identify effective cancer care.

On October 18, 2013, Mike Miliard, Managing Editor at Healthcare IT News, reported that Watson, the infamous IBM computing system, will be used at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center to assist clinicians in identifying the best treatment for patients treated there. The ultimate goal is to develop the M.D. Anderson Oncology Expert Advisor, which will recommend the most effective, evidenced-based care and/or clinical trial enrollment, and also assist in recognizing adverse events associated with the recommended treatment.

The M. D. Anderson Oncology Expert Advisor is expected to be accessible to the cancer center's network of clinicians through a computer interface and supported mobile devices. Watson is also expected to play a key role within APOLLO, an "adaptive learning environment" that also is being developed by M.D. Anderson. APOLLO supports continuous learning between clinical care and research by collecting and standardizing data, such as clinical information, laboratory and imaging results, treatment outcomes, etc. Once aggregated, the complex data will be linked and made available for analyses to identify strategies for improving care and outcomes.