Germany’s Dr. House Meets IBM Watson

Today, RHÖN-KLINIKUM AG (RKA), a private hospital group in Germany, has announced, that by the end of the year, it will begin piloting a Watson-powered cognitive assistance system to help support physicians at the group’s Center for Undiagnosed and Rare Diseases located at the University Hospital Marburg.

Since it opened in 2013, the renowned Center has been contacted by more than 6,000 patients to visit Prof. Dr. Jürgen Schäfer, a leading expert in rare diseases, who is also known as the “German Dr. House,” based on the character of the eponymous American medical television drama. Most of the patients he and his team meets with have year-long medical histories, which include a large amount of unstructured data, such as laboratory tests, clinical reports, drug prescriptions, radiology findings as well as pathology reports.

RKA has teamed up with IBM for a 12-month pilot project where medical and technical scientists and designers from both companies are working together to develop a cognitive assistance system for rare diseases. Its overall goal is to support physicians to analyze patient data to help them make decisions more quickly and safely.