American Cancer Society and IBM Announce Collaboration to Create a Virtual Cancer Health Advisor

American Cancer Society and IBM Announce Collaboration to Create a Virtual Cancer Health Advisor
April 14 10:00 2016 Print This Article

Washington, D.C. – 12 Apr 2016: IBM (NYSE: IBM) and the American Cancer Society (ACS) today announced a partnership to create the first advisor for people fighting cancer, powered by Watson cognitive computing. The initiative, announced at the 13th Annual World Health Care Congress, aims to provide cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers with trusted ACS resources and guidance personalized to an individual’s unique journey against cancer.

More than 1.6 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer each year, and the challenge of finding the right information for each person to manage their disease often presents yet another hurdle. Filtering countless health websites for relevant, accurate and trustworthy information is daunting, and even more difficult to draw insights from multiple sources. This is where Watson may help.

Once developed, the advisor will anticipate the needs of people with different types of cancers, at different stages of disease, and at various points in treatment. It will be dynamic and become increasingly personalized as individuals engage with it, effectively getting “smarter” each time it is used. ACS and IBM also envision incorporating Watson’s voice recognition and natural language processing technology, enabling users to ask questions and receive audible responses.

For example, a person with breast cancer experiencing unusual levels of pain could ask what might be causing pain. The advisor would be designed to respond with information on symptoms and self-management options associated with that persons’ current and future phases of treatment, based on the experiences of people with similar characteristics. Because the advisor learns from each engagement, a person would receive customized options based on preferences that Watson has learned, such as a person who prefers online peer support groups to telephonic health coach calls.

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