Florida's Jupiter Medical Center becomes first US hospital to use IBM's Watson for Oncology

By Bernie Monegain

Jupiter Medical Center, a not-for-profit 327-bed regional medical center in Jupiter, Florida, will employ cognitive computing platform IBM Watson for Oncology. Jupiter is the first US community hospital to adopt the technology.

The goal: to provide insights to physicians to help them deliver personalized, evidence-based cancer treatment.

In the U.S., there will be an estimated 1.7 million new cancer cases this year, with 125,000 in Florida alone, according to the American Cancer Society.

Watson for Oncology is designed to help physicians with the ever-growing tsunami of data.

The technology helps increase efficiency for oncologists by scoring and ranking medical literature and quickly summarizing patient records. It provides information to oncologists to help them deliver evidence-based treatment options.

Watson for Oncology draws from more than 300 medical journals, more than 200 textbooks, and nearly 15 million pages of text to provide recommendations about different treatment options and also drug options and administration instructions. Watson also ranks recommendations based on evidence, linking to peer reviewed studies and clinical guidelines. Its machine-learning capability means it is continually learning over time.

“At Jupiter Medical Center, we are committed to pioneering new approaches to medicine and healthcare,” Jupiter Medical Center President and CEO John D. Couris, said in a statement, “Watson for Oncology is part of our significant investment in creating a world-class cancer program, and we are proud to be the first US community hospital to arm our clinical team with this cutting-edge technology.”

As Rob Merkel, vice president of oncology and genomics at IBM Watson Health, sees it, “in communities across the country and around the world, there is a growing need for tools that help increase efficiency and enable quick access to important information from the collective body of cancer knowledge available today.

“We were impressed by Watson’s analytical ability to help provide relevant treatment options for patients to allow physicians to personalize patient care in an unparalleled way,” Abraham Schwarzberg, MD, chief of oncology at Jupiter Medical Center, said in a statement. Watson will help Jupiter’s oncology multidisciplinary team identify individual treatment, he added.

IBM and MSK have been accelerating Watson for Oncology’s training and it is available to assist clinicians in developing treatment plans for breast, lung, colorectal, cervical, ovarian and gastric cancers, and it will be trained on nine additional cancer types this year, altogether covering 80 percent of the worldwide incidence of cancer.