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Watson Goes From Jeopardy To Med School

IBM wants Watson to make the move from Jeopardy to medical schools—and here's how.

This morning, IBM publicly announced two big innovations for Watson, its language processing mega-computer—and the announcement is right in step with IBM's goals of making Watson part of health care.

WatsonPaths and Watson EMR Assistant, two new prototype products, turn Watson into a diagnosis aide for medical school students and a data-divining tool for electronic health records. IBM Research developed both of them with the assistance of the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine. Eric Brown, director of Watson Technologies for the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, told Fast Company that WatsonPaths helps students understand medical literature for complex scenarios, understand different treatment options, and see what Watson is doing under the hood in difficult medical cases. When confronting difficult medical cases, WatsonPaths generates solutions for medical students based on machine-language analysis of a large med literature database.

IBM also set up WatsonPaths to improve its responses to medical students based on students' queries. As the company put it in a release, "WatsonPaths is comparing its own actions with that of the medical expert and the system gets smarter." The second project, Watson EMR Assistant, is another prototype that generates lists of medical concerns and visualizations from a combination of patients' medical records and de-identified EMR data provided by Cleveland Clinic.