Teladoc taps IBM Watson machine learning for second opinion service

By Dave Muoio
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Correction: A previous version of this article misstated Watson's contributions to the Teladoc platform. Watson does not offer diagnoses.

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. 

“Teladoc utilizes the Watson cognitive computing and machine learning capabilities and puts that at the fingertips of doctors to enhance their ability to provide an expert second opinion 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 Teladoc’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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