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Watson Gives Hope For Speedy Diagnosis And Treatment Of Cancer A First In Malaysia


KPJ Healthcare Berhad will absorb the costs of adopting IBM Watson for better Oncology diagnosis and treatment. This was announced at the media launch of the first Artificial Intelligence System for Cancer Management in Malaysia.  Which means patients receiving treatment through the assistance of the cognitive intelligent platform, will not be charged anything more than what they are already paying.

Watson for Oncology has been trained by Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK), a cognitive computing platform, to provide insights that help doctors deliver evidence-based cancer treatment options.

KPJ Healthcare President and Managing Director, Dato’ Amiruddin Abdul Satar said, “We believe that introducing Watson for Oncology will increase KPJ’s capability to provide cancer patients with treatment options that are based on facts and medical evidence”.

KPJ being the first provider of private healthcare services in Malaysia to adopt Watson for Oncology, provides the added service at their branch hospitals that are equipped for Oncology treatment, namely, KPJ Damansara Specialist Hospital (KPJ Damansara), KPJ Ampang Puteri Specialist Hospital (KPJ Ampang Puteri), KPJ Johor Specialist Hospital (KPJ Johor), KPJ Ipoh Specialist Hospital (KPJ Ipoh) and KPJ Sabah Specialist Hospital (KPJ Sabah).

“This investment in cognitive technologies is in line with KPJ’s vision to become an oncology hub in Malaysia and the region as our clinicians seek to continually deliver excellent care to the 3 million patients we serve each year,” he added.

While patients will still be treated by Oncologists, now the Oncologists will have the added database of millions of data from across the world at their finger tips so as to come to the best possible prognosis and determine the best course of action for treatment and hopefully cure the disease in the fastest possible timeline.

The database of medical evidence for a physician to consider, will be drawn from more than 300 medical journals, more than 200 textbooks, and nearly 15 million pages of text to provide insights about different treatment options.

However the patients details will remain unknown in the system as none of the patients details needs to be tabulated by Watson. The Oncologists only needs to enter the patients current condition and lets Watson come up with the suggestions for treatment.

According to the Malaysian National Cancer Registry, cancer is the third most common cause of death among Malaysians at 14% after respiratory (19%) and circulatory (23%) diseases. Women have a higher risk of cancer compared to men with the most common type being breast cancer while colorectal and prostate cancer are common among men.

Watson for Oncology was developed by IBM in collaboration with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. It can summarize key medical attributes of a patient, and provide information to oncologists to help them deliver treatment options based on training from MSK oncologists. Watson for Oncology ranks the treatment options, linking to peer reviewed studies that have been curated by MSK.

Currently Watson for Oncology provides treatment for breast, lung, colorectal, cervical, ovarian, gastric, prostate and bladder cancers but will be expanding to other areas by end 2018.

“This latest collaboration with KPJ in Malaysia further expands IBM’s growing footprint of well-known healthcare institutions that are using Watson in the Asia Pacific region,” said Chong Chye Neo, Managing Director, IBM Malaysia. “KPJ is on the cutting edge in bringing cognitive computing into the clinical workflow to augment and scale the ability of their clinicians to bring quality care to their patients.”

While talks with other hospitals are on-going, KPJ were the first to sign the agreement with IBM to adopt the platform in its hospitals she added. It marks a bold step for Malaysian medicine in becoming digitally enhanced and paves the way for other medical disruptions from AI platforms to break into the industry.