The Tuesday, July 9, episode of CBS This Morning included a segment about a new tool to help improve medical decision making, built on the supercomputer IBM Watson. Mark G. Kris, Chief of Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Thoracic Oncology Service, and Carol Jaxel, one of Dr. Kris’s patients, were interviewed about the benefits this new technology can bring to cancer care.
Dr. Kris and a team of physicians and analysts at Memorial Sloan Kettering have been “training” IBM Watson for more than a year to help medical professionals choose the best diagnostic and treatment plans for individual cancer patients. The system is based on a vast amount of clinical data and research as well as wisdom gleaned from decades of expertise in treating cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering.
One of the goals of this project is to improve the quality of care delivered to people with cancer no matter where they are located. The need for the new technology arises from the increasing complexity of cancer treatment and the fact that most cancer patients are not treated at specialized medical centers.
IBM Watson, which became famous after its appearance on the TV game show Jeopardy! in 2011, when it beat two all-time champions, is capable of learning with every encounter, continually getting smarter.