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IBM putting Watson to work in health insurance

Sun, 09/11/2011 - 8:05pm
JIM FITZGERALD - Associated Press - Associated Press

IBM is finally sending its Watson computer out into the working world.

The supercomputer system is best known for trouncing the world's best "Jeopardy!" players on TV. But now one of the nation's largest health insurers is hiring it to help diagnose medical problems and authorize treatments.

The insurer, WellPoint Inc., says Watson is a game-changer in health care.

IBM says the WellPoint application will relate a patient's symptoms and history to textbooks and medical journals. In just a few seconds, it can present several possible diagnoses or treatments.

Future uses for Watson could include financial information and public safety.

The company won't say how much it's being paid, but it's the first money Watson has earned for IBM; its game-show winnings went to charity.

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