IBM Watson diagnoses cancer patients in South Korean hospital: 5 things to know

Incheon, South Korea-based Gachon University Gil Medical Center is using "Watson for Oncology" to assist in cancer diagnosis, marking the first deployment of IBM's artificial intelligence platform in South Korea.

Here are five things to know.

• Watson for Oncology, which was trained at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, is a cloud-based platform that uses advanced data analytics and individual patients' clinical information to help identify personalized treatment options for cancer patients.

• Watson for Oncology uses natural language processing to mine information from a range of data sources, determining which information is relevant to individual patients' health needs. Already, Watson for Oncology has consumed more than 200 medical textbooks and 300 medical journals, which it can regurgitate to physicians in the form of clinical decision support.

• Oncologists at Gachon University Gil Medical Center see about 50,000 cancer patients each year. Watson for Oncology, which will be delivered through the IBM cloud, was first rolled out to treat breast, lung, colorectal and gastrointestinal cancer patients. In less than two weeks, the hospital used Watson for Oncology to help diagnose 85 cancer patients, according to The Nation Thailand.

• The Nation Thailand noted that some medical experts have been critical of Watson for Oncology due to worries that the program will be used to replace physicians. However, hospital officials said Watson for Oncology is only being used for clinical decision support.

• Watson for Oncology has already been deployed at Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand, and Manipal Hospitals in India. Twenty-one hospitals in China also have plans to adopt the technology.

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