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Watson for Oncology a game changer in cancer diagnostics: Dr. Ajay Bakshi

Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
Thursday, September 14, 2017, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Watson for Oncology is a breakthrough technology in evidence-based cancer care. It has been a game changer in the field of oncology where almost every 13th person inflicted with cancer is an Indian, said Dr. Ajay Bakshi, managing Director & CEO, Manipal Health Enterprises.
The numbers are staggering and the burden of the disease is adding day by day. It is important to integrate technology and healthcare for faster and accurate outputs to save time, money and ensure quality with result oriented treatment, Dr. Bakshi told Pharmabiz in an email.
IBM developed Watson for Oncology in association with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK), one of the world’s leading cancer centers. It was in 2015, that Manipal Hospital adopted Watson for Oncology, a cognitive computing platform and is currently only facility in the country to offer the treatment option for cancer patients through this technology.
From the time we entered this partnership over two years ago, we have been able to positively impact over thousands of patients by providing cutting-edge treatment that is cost effective. Thanks to cognitive computing, healthcare providers like us can discover the best possible treatment for even the rarest forms of cancer by gaining access to multitude of research papers and a host of tried and tested treatment options to understand new ideas and concepts, he said.
With a majority of Indian population residing in rural areas, Watson for Oncology helps to inch closer to the goal of providing ‘Quality healthcare for all.” It is a win-win situation and oncologists can apply their decades of experience and research to interpret clinical information of patients to identify individualized or customised line of treatment that will suit individual patient needs. The immense power of data needs to be leveraged in the right way and Watson for Oncology makes this possible with the help of cloud, data and augmented intelligence.
“Currently the Watson has been deployed on thousands of people and we have also applied the technology on more than 200 people through different studies. It has proved to be save considerable time in diagnosis. With the click of a button, a complete medical data is generated within seconds. This data enables oncologists take a highly personalised decision on the line of treatment. We have 12-member team trained to help patients to identify and administer the right treatment via Watson,” said Dr. Bakshi.
The greatest advantage is it can be used by both Manipal and non–Manipal patients, it gives a chance for second consultation which is available in all our units across India. No matter what city you the patient resides, we have created a system with the help of IBM Health. So when a patient’s data is keyed in, Watson generates almost a 80 page report that outlines the most effective treatment suitable for patient having a particular type of cancer. At one go, oncologists have an option of almost 3 kinds of treatments. The medical experts can generate such reports for almost 8 different types of cancer. For a nominal fee, patients in remote areas can avail tele-consulting and generate an entire report on Watson, he said.


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