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IBM Watson Health unveils breast advisors solution at RSNA

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | December 11, 2017
Health IT Women's Health
IBM Watson Advisors
IBM Watson Health showcased its IBM Watson Advisors solution last month at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) annual conference.

The solution uses artificial intelligence technology to pre-read reports as mammograms are conducted, alerting physicians to any possible issues found and enabling them to perform diagnostic tests on patients before they leave.

“When a woman comes in for a mammogram, if she has dense breast tissue or if she has something there, she often needs to go for another test, like an ultrasound. You want to do that when she’s there," Steven Tolle, global vice president of strategy and business development – Imaging at IBM Watson Health, told HCB News. “It’s not a great experience to drive all the way in, get scanned and get a call later saying you need to come back in. It’s also pretty anxiety provoking. We’re trying to reduce the number of callbacks happening and improve the overall experience for the patient and for the imaging practice.”

The solution uses imaging analytics to read through reports, and searches for pixelation differences in all images. It also calculates breast density and assesses prior images, medical histories and patient risk factors for cancer, developing intricacy scores to organize cases based on potential pathology, to determine the priority status of each.

Watson plans to expand this technology to detect findings in the chest, brain, heart, and eyes, and eventually anywhere throughout the human body.

“After the concept is proven, we’re going to be moving to lung advisor, chest advisor, brain advisor,” Brad Orchard, a pre-sales consultant for Merge Healthcare, a division of IBM Watson, told HCB News. “Eventually Watson will be able to identify issues in the entire body no matter what body part is being imaged. But we’re starting with breast because we’ve got to prove the concept, and women’s health is a great place to start. After that, we will be moving to different regions of the body.”

The solution is scheduled for release sometime in 2018.

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