VA to Pilot IBM's Watson to Assist Physicians in Caring for Patients

Press Release | VA | December 15, 2014

Two-Year Pilot Program Places Emphasis on Evidence-based Clinical Decisions

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has begun a two-year pilot to study innovative approaches to quickly search electronic medical records and medical literature for relevant published studies. During the pilot, VA will assess how the technology may accelerate evidence-based clinical decisions.

Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D.“Physicians can save valuable time finding the right information needed to care for their patients with this sophisticated and advanced technology,” said Interim Under Secretary for Health Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D. “A tool that can help a clinician quickly collect, combine, and present information will allow them to spend more time listening and interacting with the Veteran.  This directly supports the patient-centric medicine VA is committed to delivering every day.”

The IBM Corporation was selected to provide the system which uses its “Watson technology” made famous on Jeopardy! in 2011. Today, IBM is working with several healthcare organizations to apply Watson's cognitive capabilities in helping doctors identify and analyze cancer treatment options. Learning about the opportunities and challenges these next-generation technologies may have is part of an ongoing effort for VA to advance the quality of healthcare provided to our Nation’s Veterans. During the pilot, clinical decisions will not be made on actual patient encounters, but instead will use realistic simulations. The notice can be found here:

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