The MD Anderson / IBM Watson Announcement: What Does It Mean For Machine Learning In Healthcare?

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It’s been over six years since IBM’s Watson amazed all of us on Jeopardy, but it has yet to deliver similar breakthroughs in healthcare. The headlines in last week’s Forbes article read, “MD Anderson Benches IBM Watson In Setback For Artificial Intelligence In Medicine.” Is it really a setback for the entire industry or not? Health Catalyst’s EVP for Product Development, Dale Sanders, believes that the challenges are unique to IBM’s machine learning strategy in healthcare. If they adjust that strategy and better manage expectations about what’s possible for machine learning in medicine, the future will be brighter for Watson, their clients, and AI in healthcare, in general. Watson’s success is good for all of us, but it’s failure is bad for all of us, too.
Join Dale as he discusses:
  1. The good news: Machine learning technology is accelerating at a rate beyond Moore’s Law. Dale believes that machine learning algorithms and models are doubling in capability every six months.
  2. The bad news: The healthcare data ecosystem is not nearly as rich as many would believe, and certainly not as rich as that used to train Watson for Jeopardy. Without high-volume, high-quality data, Watson’s potential and the constant advances in machine learning algorithms will hit a glass ceiling in healthcare.
  3. The best news: By adjusting strategy and expectations, there are still plenty of opportunities to do great things with machine learning by using the current data content in healthcare, while we build out the volume and breadth of data we need to truly understand the patient at the center of the healthcare picture… and you don’t need an army of PhD data scientists to do it.

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