IBM wants its Watson supercomputer to treat diabetes, fight cancer, and monitor pregnancy
IBM's putting its Jeopardy-playing supercomputer to work to help doctors treat diabetes, fight cancer and monitor pregnancy.
IBM Watson Health this week said it'll begin a partnership with diabetes-drug maker Novo Nordisk. It also unveiled a pregnancy-monitoring app.
The idea is to use Watson's computing power to harness data from tens of millions of patient records, to map out treatment paths that are designed based on each patient's characteristics.
Diabetes, a chronic condition that causes our bodies to either resist the effects of insulin or to not produce enough of that hormone to keep our blood sugar steady. Diabetes affects 371 million people worldwide, a number that's expected to increase to 552 million by 2030.
With more serious applications like healthcare, Watson's able to read through all of the hundreds of thousands of medical studies, that would take a human being hundreds of years to sift through, and come up with the best course of treatment. Rob Merkel, IBM's vice president of IBM Watson Health told Business Insider that the goal is to try to get health care to the point where treating diseases is an easy, preventative task that's no harder than getting a ride using your smartphone.
"A lot of these things you don't really know when you're at risk for something," he said. "Then when you know, you don't know what is the optimal intervention for you or for your patient. So by providing new levels of insight into those areas you can just think about what the opportunity is. It's absolutely huge."
Last week the company said it would expand its operations into India, where the technology can help doctors diagnose and treat cancer patients.