The Armonk, N.Y.-based technology giant said Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Network will adopt the Watson technology for this purpose in a project set to begin this fall. Froedtert/MCW Cancer Network are among the 1st cancer programs nationally to use the technology, according to IBM.
Doctors typically try to match patients to genetically ideal clinical trials that are also the most relevant in the development spectrum. This can be a long process on multiple levels, involving reviews by clinical coordinators who manually sort through patient records and conditions. The idea is that Watson could hasten the process by analyzing a greater amount of information in less time, including patients’ unique genetic details.
“No 2 people and no 2 cancers are alike,” Dr. James Thomas, oncologist and medical director with Froedtert & MCW Cancer Clinical Trials Office & Translational Research Unit, said in prepared remarks. “Watson will support a higher level of personalized care for our patients by enabling us to securely connect individual health information with a vast array of clinical trials.”
There’s also a potential care gap to fill here. About 13.8 million Americans are currently battling cancer. There are also approximately 53,000 cancer clinical trials going nationally at any given time, according to ClinicalTrials.gov data cited by IBM.
Watson is increasingly being used in multiple medical endeavors. Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) is partnering with Watson, for example, to improve diabetes care; Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) is using the technology to improve outcomes for knee replacement surgeries.
IBM launched IBM Watson Health and the Watson Health Cloud platform in 2015. The unit works with doctors, researchers and insurers in a bid to use data to achieve new healthcare innovations.