IBM Watson Health has announced it will partner with Icon Group to bring Watson for Oncology to Australia for the first-time.
The cognitive computing platform, Watson for Oncology, will be made available to oncologists within Icon Group’s Australian network, enabling them to access the massive volumes of cancer research and literature available across the globe.
IBM Watson for Oncology complements the work of oncologists, supporting clinical decision-making by enabling them to access evidence-based, personalised treatment options across seven types of cancer including breast, lung, colorectal, gastric, cervical, prostate and ovarian cancer.
“We are proud to partner with Icon Group as one of the leading innovators in healthcare delivery across the region,” said Dr. Terry Sweeney, IBM Watson Health Lead for Asia Pacific. “Icon Group joins more than 55 health organisations across the world where Watson technologies are making a significant contribution in helping physicians amplify their own expertise to deliver evidence-based care, particularly in clinics that lack specialist expertise across multiple cancer types.”
Currently, around 50,000 oncology research papers are published each year , while medical information is projected to double every 73 days by 2020 . Watson for Oncology presents a solution to the diminishing ability for humans to keep up with this explosion in medical knowledge.
Watson for Oncology, trained by Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK), supports oncologists in identifying cancer treatment options and provides knowledge from more than 300 medical journals, more than 200 textbooks, and nearly 15 million pages of text providing insight and comprehensive details on different treatment options, including key information on drug treatment selections. The technology further ranks the evidence-based treatment options, linking to peer reviewed studies and clinical guidelines. Its machine-learning capabilities means the system continuously learns over time, based on previous interactions.
Commenting on the new partnership, Cathie Reid, Co-Founder and Digital Advisor for Icon Group said, “the Icon Group and IBM Watson Health partnership complements our growing portfolio of digital health services, and will help our physicians understand the subtleties of each patient’s illness by combining their expertise with the increasing amounts of oncology literature available globally. Investment in this technology will allow us to further support our oncology clinicians across Australia in their treatment decisions – based on the most current, credible information available – regardless of where they’re geographically based.”
Icon Group’s investment in Watson for Oncology will see the company join ranks with leading hospitals and health organisations across India, China, Thailand, Korea, Taiwan, Bangladesh, Slovakia, Poland, Mexico and the U.S.
“We are excited by the potential impact that Watson for Oncology could have on physician’s care of oncology in Australia. This new collaboration with IBM Watson Health supports Icon Group’s strategy in delivering the best cancer treatment possible, to as many people as possible, as close to home as possible,” said Mark Middleton, Icon Group’s CEO. “Watson for Oncology will play a valuable role in helping regional and remote patients have access to high quality cancer care regardless of their geographic location.”
Announcement of the partnership follows the unveiling of the latest Watson for Oncology study data, released at the world’s largest oncology congress, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting.
Following roll-out in in Australia, Icon Group has succeeding plans to launch Watson for Oncology across its South-East Asia network, where clinics in developing regions often lack the personnel and experience to deal with the burgeoning demand for oncology services.