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IBM Watson to power Manipal Hospitals’ cancer care

Bengaluru: In a first, hospital chain Manipal Hospitals has adopted IBM’s cognitive computing platform Watson for improving and offering individualised cancer care for patients, the IBM announced on Wednesday.

IBM Watson Health Vice President Rob Merkel, IBM India Managing Director Vanitha Narayanan, Manipal Hospitals CEO & MD Dr Ajay Bakshi, and Manipal Hospitals Chairman Dr H Sudarshan Ballal at a press event in Bengaluru on December 2, 2015.
IBM Watson Health Vice President Rob Merkel, IBM India Managing Director Vanitha Narayanan, Manipal Hospitals CEO & MD Dr Ajay Bakshi, and Manipal Hospitals Chairman Dr H Sudarshan Ballal at a press event in Bengaluru on December 2, 2015.

Developed in collaboration with 130-year-old Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre, Watson for Oncology is trained in analysing data to identify evidence based treatment options.

With a knowledge base of 15 million medical pages, 200 medical text books and 300 medical journals, Watson for Oncology employs machine learning ability to continuously learn about Oncology over time.

“This engagement (with Manipal Hospitals) represents a major step in the transformation of healthcare in India. With IBM Watson we are bringing cognitive computing to the healthcare ecosystem to help deliver greater value to patients,” said Vanitha Narayanan, managing director, IBM India, in a statement.

Dr Ajay Bakshi, chief executive officer, Manipal Hospitals, said: “With IBM’s Watson for Oncology, we can combine our clinicians’ expertise across various types of cancers with a cognitive computing solution informed by expert training from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre.”

In India, one million cancer cases are diagnosed every year while it claims 6,80,000 lives every year making it the second leading cause of death after heart diseases.

Compounding the growing health challenge, India faces an acute shortage of oncologists, surgical oncologists and radiation therapists in the country.

Industry data reveals the ratio of oncologists to cancer patients is about 1:1600 compared to 1:100 in the United States. Further, doctors face an increasing battle to stay up to date about best practices in treatment and care management.

Dr Bakshi said, “We are at an inflection point in India regarding cancer care, driven by the increasing number of cancer patients in India, fewer oncologists to treat them and the broad geographic footprint of our region.”

“These challenges are amplified by rapid advances in personalized medicine, and an ever-growing amount and diversity of clinical evidence. All these factors compelled us to consider how a technology-based solution could help deliver at scale world class cancer care to our patients,” added Dr Bakshi.

(IANS)

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