IBM brings patient analysis to hospitals

IBM has announced the development of a biomedical data analysis system which it promises will boost efficiency by targeting healthcare to patients suffering from serious illnesses.

What Big Blue calls its Clinical Genomics analytics platform has been developed alongside an Italian medical research centre, and will leverage IBM’s data crunching powers to create personalised treatments for patients.

It will be possible to select the most effective treatment quickly by using the analysis platform to mull over information like clinical knowledge and guidelines, as well as past case analysis. This is correlated with the data available on the patient to give an idea of the best line of treatment.

For example, the system might look at family history, age, state of the disease, or whether your liver is too frequently doused with litres of vodka, before sending you under the knife.

This will mean quacks can quickly get an IBM-decided automated course of action.  While some might prefer to have an actual doctor make such decisions, IBM says there are efficiency benefits. The company reckons there is scope to help in the ongoing treatment of cancer management, or AIDS care.

For example, it could perhaps be possible to offer a number of treatment options to a doctor, with details of how different actions have fared in the past.

Essentially it is hoped that it will help “ease clinical decision-making”, and this could, of course, reduce costs. That would certainly chime with UK politicians intent on hacking the NHS to bits.

The amount of personal data stored in one place is always a risk, but IBM stresses that any info would be made anonymous by the removal of any personally identifiable information.