Over the years I have been in a couple of seminars in which the wonders IBM Watson could provide were highlighted. I remember two of them: the ability to process large amounts of imaging data and the ability to analyse large amounts of “written” data, from patient records and from published papers.
By having access to these three types of data, it would be possible to diagnose a given patient, and compare their case to that of other patients that have gone through a similar disease progression, to better optimize their treatment. Moreover, by having access to new developments, an alternative or complementary treatment could have been found.

Almost 10 years later, IBM gave up on Watson and has just sold it to a private equity fund, along to all the medical data it has collected.
Interestingly, it seems that Watson suffered from the ailments of digital health:

  • Lack of focus and clear goals
  • Lack of interoperability of the different data sets
  • The difficulty associated with processing natural language
  • Lack of clear regulations and regulatory bodies

Luckily, these are all solvable problems and with the space and momentum created by IBM Watson, better and more on point AI and digital health platforms have appeared on the market.

Further read on IBM Watson sale:

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