Teladoc taps IBM Watson machine learning for second opinion service

The telemedicine vendor will announce at HIMSS18 that technologies it acquired when it bought Best Doctors last year are now bolstering oncology expertise.
By Dave Muoio
09:38 AM
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With the acquisition of Best Doctors last summer, telemedicine vendor Teladoc has been providing specialist consultations through its remote platform. A less-publicized outcome of the deal, however, is that the company has also absorbed and implemented the Oncology Insight With Watson machine learning-powered second opinion service for experts providing cancer care -- and it will show that at HIMSS18. 

“It’s utilizing the Watson cognitive computing and machine learning capabilities and really putting that at the fingertips of doctors to enhance their ability to provide diagnosis and treatment plan for a given patient,” Teladoc Senior Vice President Dan Trencher said. “We now have over a million lives with access to this service.” 

By scouring available literature, IBM’s Watson is able to provide data-driven suggestions to oncology experts looking for a second opinion, Trencher explained. 

“It would take 29 hours a day for a doctor to stay up to date with the latest medical literature,” Trencher added. “So obviously it’s impossible, and even the best experts in the world can still benefit from having a technology doing that, and providing that individualized support for the patient.”

What’s more, one-third of Watson’s rendered opinions come with a recommended change in diagnosis and two-thirds come with changes in treatment, Trencher said. 

“The pairing of cognitive computing with expertise delivers the value,” he said. 

Teladoc will be at Booth 3860.

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Twitter: @dave_muoio
Email the writer: dave.muoio@himssmedia.com