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IBM AI Medicine

Watson Goes To Medical School 100

First time accepted submitter Kwyj1b0 writes "I.B.M's Watson is headed to the Cleavland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University for training. Clinicians and students will answer and correct Watson's questions, in an attempt to crowdsource its education. From the article: '“Hopefully, we can contribute to the training of this technology,” said Dr. James K. Stoller, chairman of the Education Institute at Cleveland Clinic. The goal, he added, was for Watson to become a “very smart assistant.” Part of Watson’s training will be to feed it test questions from the United States Medical Licensing Exam, which every human student must pass to become a practicing physician. The benefit for Watson should be to have a difficult but measurable set of questions on which to measure the progress of its machine-learning technology.'"
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Watson Goes To Medical School

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  • by lattyware ( 934246 ) <gareth@lattyware.co.uk> on Wednesday October 31, 2012 @07:55PM (#41836837) Homepage Journal
    Watson actually does some really cool stuff with respect to not just being 'do this' - it tells you what it 'thinks', but also tells you why it thinks those things, and how sure it is of that. So it will say 'I think it's likely the patient has Y because of family history, environmental factors, this symptom and these studies', etc... It's more giving the doctor all the (relevant) information possible than telling the doctor what to do.
  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2012 @07:59PM (#41836853)

    Particularly since the way it work is by probabilities. So a physician goes and inputs all the symptoms a patient reports, perhaps along with a confidence of how likely it is to be real. Watson could then spit out the likely causes, and the probability of each, as well as how to narrow it down. Then with additional tests, they can exclude things and get a re-factored list.

    It won't remove the need for a medical professional with good judgement, but it could be a boon for searching through things and presenting possibilities. What's more each new case can be logged, improving its database.

    So when someone presents with a rare disease, it would be much easier for a physician to diagnose it, even if they've never heard of it.

    If implemented right, it could cut down on misdiagnosis a ton.

  • The American Medical Schools select for automatons who can memorize and regurgitate vast amounts of data. Talk to any physician who graduated from med school in the past 20 years about what they took as undergrads and they'll most likely tell you they don't remember the courses specifically because they memorized them to pass (and then promptly forgot them).

    The real question is whether or not this is the best way to train our future health care professionals. While indeed there are some really good physicians coming out of our med schools - and even some of those who memorized their way through undergrad will be great physicians - we have also excluded from selection many who would have been excellent caregivers based on their inability to memorize quite as quickly as their classmates.

Whenever people agree with me, I always think I must be wrong. - Oscar Wilde