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The elite team of engineers and medical specialists assembled by IBM’s Watson Health division had the innocuous code name “Project Josephine,” but its mission could not have been more urgent: to fix the artificial intelligence software at the core of the company’s campaign to tackle the $7 trillion global health care market.

The predicament faced by IBM officials, STAT has found, was that it could not get its software to reliably understand and analyze language in patient medical records. That was critical for the company to deliver on multimillion-dollar contracts with hospitals and drug companies.

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  • If IBM’s AI/NLP team would only open its eyes to the opportunity that is already ripe, they would discover where their tools could instantly transform nationwide healthcare efficiency; recognition of patient (not provider) healthcare language is all that’s needed to automatically smart route appointment assignment via online scheduling platforms like NextDocSolutions (my company). An automated attendant that understands “6 days of atraumatic knee pain in a 32 year old female” would make a 10x larger financial impact than one that understands 12 different classification schemes for leukemia. If the team at IBM recognizes this before the team at Google Duplex, IBM will restore its value and credibility in a single stroke. Great article, Casey and Ike!

  • Yet another casualty of the slavish worship of “shareholder value“ (aka quarterly profits). If there is ever a Nuremberg for economists, the propagators of this pernicious concept will find themselves in the dock.

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