IBM chose December’s annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America to showcase the ability of its Watson supercomputer to rapidly analyse medical images and suggest a diagnosis. Mark Griffiths, a clinical radiologist at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, who attended RSNA, says he saw some “stunning demonstrations” of the technology, including chest X-rays being “reported in milliseconds.”
Watson is an example of a technology that IBM refers to as “cognitive computing”. Using a form of artificial intelligence known as natural language processing, Watson, a cloud-based system, is able to analyse vast stores of scholarly articles, patient records and medical images. (When IBM acquired Merge Healthcare in 2015, it gained access to the company’s database of 30 billion images.) This ability to interpret written language is what marks Watson out as different from other computer-based tools used to aid diagnosis.
By Kim Thomas | Digital Health
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