Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

IBM uses machine learning to detect cancers in China

Steve Rogerson
June 6, 2017
IBM is partnering with the Baheal Pharmaceutical Group to bring machine learning to cancer detection in China.
Using IBM Watson for Oncology, the multi-year strategic alliance should help Baheal accelerate cancer patients' access to cognitive technology. Over time, the alliance may also see Watson for Genomics and other future Watson Health innovation in China.
Baheal has a track record delivering value to hospitals across China working with more than 12,000 hospitals today, and the company has already implemented Watson for Oncology at Qingdao University Affiliate Hospital and Qingdao City Hospital, impacting more than 350 patients to date.
IBM Watson Health is partnering with organisations such as Baheal within China's healthcare and technology community to establish an ecosystem that will bring the benefits of machine learning into clinical practice to serve the needs of doctors and patients while maintaining compliance with local laws and regulations, including data privacy and security requirements.
"Oncologists in China have very little time to spend with each of their patients, and by deploying Watson for Oncology across our network, we aim to give our doctors more time to focus on the best decisions they can make for their patients," said Gang Fu, chairman of Baheal Pharmaceutical Group. "Watson for Oncology will complement the robust digital health programme that Baheal has already implemented in an effort to improve efficiency and quality across China's healthcare system."
With more than 4.3 million cancer diagnoses and 2.8 million cancer deaths, China is home to a quarter of all global cancer deaths, and cancer constitutes one-fifth of all deaths in China. An explosion of medical information has created both challenges and opportunities to help improve quality care. Currently, approximately 50,000 oncology research papers are published annually, and by 2020 medical information is projected to double every 73 days, outpacing the ability of humans to keep up with the proliferation of medical knowledge.
"We are proud to work with Baheal, one of China's foremost leaders in the healthcare industry, to drive adoption of cognitive technology," said Deborah DiSanzo, general manager at IBM Watson Health. "In communities all 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. Watson for Oncology offers the promise to provide evidence based care while enabling clinicians to spend more time focusing on their patients."
Watson for Oncology is a cognitive computing platform that was trained by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York to provide evidence-based treatment options to oncologists. It identifies individualised treatment options, scales access to oncology expertise, and analyses massive volumes of medical literature drawing from more than 300 medical journals, 200 textbooks and nearly 15 million pages of text.
Watson also ranks evidence-based treatment options, linking to peer reviewed studies and clinical guidelines. Its machine-learning capability means it continuously learns, gaining in value and knowledge over time. Watson for Oncology is trained to assist clinicians in developing treatment plans for breast, lung, colorectal, cervical, ovarian, gastric and prostate cancers.