Harvard Medical School's Isaac Kohane asks in a Common Health piece whether "Dr. Watson" — cousin to IBM's supercomputer of the same surname, and of Jeopardy! fame — will one day put physicians "out of work in droves." In the article, Kohane considers the prospects of computerized medical care. He contemplates the possibility that a patient's physician might order the incorrect test or miss the proper diagnosis, while Dr. Watson would the right answers for both problems. However, he adds: "What if Dr. Watson has an electronic seizure?" Kohane weighs the consequences of both hypothetical scenarios and says that "the time for a re-thinking of the [medical] profession is nigh." Indeed, he adds, rather than replacing physicians, perhaps medical professionals ought to consider how Dr. Watson might collaborate with them. "We should think much more seriously about how teaming with Dr. Watson can offload parts of the health care delivery process that do not require the highest levels of training," he writes.
Feb 26, 2011