IBM’s Watson to Replace Doctors…Never

So, how is IBM’s Watson doing?  I have no idea because after the big hoopla of how great it was going to be I never heard another peep out of, well, anyone.  Now I have heard some things and it isn’t great:

But three years after IBM began selling Watson to recommend the best cancer treatments to doctors around the world, a STAT investigation has found that the supercomputer isn’t living up to the lofty expectations IBM created for it. It is still struggling with the basic step of learning about different forms of cancer. Only a few dozen hospitals have adopted the system, which is a long way from IBM’s goal of establishing dominance in a multibillion-dollar market. And at foreign hospitals, physicians complained its advice is biased toward American patients and methods of care.

And there was this:

At its heart, Watson for Oncology uses the cloud-based supercomputer to digest massive amounts of data — from doctor’s notes to medical studies to clinical guidelines. But its treatment recommendations are not based on its own insights from these data. Instead, they are based exclusively on training by human overseers, who laboriously feed Watson information about how patients with specific characteristics should be treated.

Based on training by human overseers?  Isn’t that like having a digital EMR but having to fax information to give to another provider who then scans it so it is digital again?  Oh, yeah, we still do that.

This blog has talked about Watson before and I highly recommend you read these links:

Someday, Watson may really be great but I still don’t think it will replace us. There are too many nuances in patient care that computers can’t pick up.  But it does make great headlines for PR, doesn’t it?

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Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  5 comments for “IBM’s Watson to Replace Doctors…Never

  1. Steve O'
    October 10, 2017 at 12:40 am

    To tell the truth, the myth of the robot-gizmo doctor is perhaps over a hundred years old. It is a trope synonymous with the romance of technology. Look at to find robot doctor memes and myths and where they flourish.

  2. Steve O'
    October 10, 2017 at 12:33 am

    I am sorry that something awful has happened, James, but I do not understand your story. People clearly should not be beaten to death for seeking medical care, if that is what you are explaining. Can you describe any facts which might help us understand the situation?

  3. james
    October 9, 2017 at 8:43 am

    A computer would not threaten a patient I don’t think.
    I felt threatened by a Doctor at Centrastate.
    As I explained in previous posts I went to the ER on September 8.

    I went in about 830 am.
    Late in the afternoon, when I thought I was about to be sent home, a Doctor I never saw that day came in the room and said that I need to be admitted to the hospital for possibly 2 nights and that “it isn’t like going to jail”.

    I was very upset. I took that as a threat. That if I tried to leave I would be arrested ans go to jail.

    What is was was robbery by extortion.

    The whole experience , with only 1 night overnight, cost over 20,000 dollars.

    AND TO TOP IT OFF I THINK THE DOCTOR WAS AN OUTSIDE DOCTOR THAT I WAS NOT MADE AWARE OF. I think this because I am getting a bill from a seperete company for him.

    NJ Patients rights include
    To receive a summary of your patient rights that includes the name and phone number of the hospital staff member whom you can ask questions or complain about any possible violation of your rights.

    • james
      October 9, 2017 at 8:45 am

      To be informed of the names and functions of any outside healthcare and educational institutions involved in your treatment. You may refuse to allow their participation.

    • Doug Farrago
      October 9, 2017 at 6:38 pm

      Okay, James, we have heard your story over and over. No matter what blog you comment on it ends up being about your story. Feel free to post an intelligent response related EXACTLY to the content of the blog entry you comment on or you will be blocked from now on. Agreed? This is your last chance.

Comments are closed.