Elekta taps IBM Watson Health to bring AI capabilities to oncology tech

The oncology systems vendor is pairing Watson for Oncology as an AI-based clinical decision support system with its digital cancer care platforms.
By Bill Siwicki
03:12 PM
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AI oncology

Elekta's digital cancer care and its MOSAIQ Oncology Information System. Credit: Elekta

Cancer is responsible for one in six deaths around the world, and each year there are more than 14 million new cancer cases worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. As healthcare providers seek to enable data-driven, evidence-based cancer care, an explosion of medical information has created both challenges and opportunities to help improve quality of care.

Some 50,000 oncology research papers are published each year, according to PubMed, and by 2020 medical information is projected to double every 73 days – outpacing the ability of human beings to keep up with the proliferation of medical knowledge.

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In this environment, Swedish oncology IT vendor Elekta is collaborating with artificial intelligence kingpin IBM Watson Health to offer Watson for Oncology as part of Elekta's cancer care systems.

Elekta will market Watson for Oncology as an AI-based clinical decision support system paired within Elekta's digital cancer care systems, including its MOSAIQ Oncology Information System.

Elekta CEO Richard Hausmann said the goal is to apply AI to the cancer care continuum, from treatment planning to evidence-based treatment recommendations.

[Also: Prioritizing development of AI in workflow is biggest challenge for IT shops in 2018]

The oncology information systems market is highly specialized and does not feature a lot of players. The dominant companies in the space are Varian and Elekta. Other vendors include Accuray, Epic and RaySearch.

Watson for Oncology was developed by IBM in collaboration with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. It can summarize key medical attributes of a patient and provide information to oncologists to help them deliver treatment options based on training from Memorial Sloan Kettering oncologists.

Watson for Oncology ranks the treatment options, linking to peer-reviewed studies that have been curated by Memorial Sloan Kettering. Watson for Oncology also provides a large corpus of medical literature for a physician to consider, drawing on more than 300 medical journals, more than 200 textbooks, and nearly 15 million pages of text to provide insights about different treatment options

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Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT
Email the writer: bill.siwicki@himssmedia.com