WellPoint uses Watson for decision support


WellPoint is putting IBM's supercomputer Watson to its first use--developing clinical decision support tools for oncology, reports InformationWeek Healthcare. With the help of the Cedars-Sinai Cancer Institute, WellPoint says it hopes to apply the latest results from medical literature and clinical trials to better inform doctors' medical decisions for individual cases. The goal is for Watson to keep doctors updated with the latest medical evidence and select the best solutions on a case-by-case basis. WellPoint chose to address cancer first because of the growing complexity involved in its diagnosis and treatment. "There's wide variability in cancer treatment and a lot of new developments are occurring there," Andrew J. Lang, WellPoint's senior vice president and chief information officer, told InformationWeek Healthcare.

WellPoint doesn't plan to use Watson's decision support tools to evaluate providers' performances. "But clearly as the [Watson] engine gets more intelligent, and we're able to move to evidence-based decision information for physicians, naturally physicians are going to migrate to using the better information that's tied to the right evidence. And we'll want to have a continued dialog with our providers on how best to apply and use this solution," Lang said. Article