Tokyo, Japan – Doctors at the University of Tokyo recently leveraged Watson to help with a particularly challenging medical case. A 60-year-old woman’s illness had stumped doctors and led to incorrect diagnoses for months. Once Watson got its digital hands on her case, it was able to correctly diagnose her rare form of leukemia in just 10 minutes. It arrived at the proper diagnosis by comparing her genetic changes to information in its database of tens of millions of cancer research papers. While Watson and AI are far from proving human doctors obsolete, putting such a powerful research tool in the hands of the human healthcare professionals tasked with saving lives everyday will prove to be a game-changer. For more information on Watson’s forays into medicine see: and

Why This Matters –

Watson’s life-saving diagnosis wouldn’t have been possible without a huge database of relevant medical research. As diagnosing and choosing treatments move from being the work of humans to that of the future Watsons of the world, pharmaceutical, biologic, and medical device companies will learn firsthand the importance of helping fill these databases with as much evidence as possible to support their products. The brands that best integrate strong digital support around efficacy, safety, and cost/access should have a substantial leg up with the digital clinicians of our not-too-distant future.

About the Author:

Drew Beck has spent his entire career in healthcare — from direct patient care as an EMT in college to countless roles in pharma sales and global marketing for leading life science companies including Eli Lilly & Co. and GlaxoSmithKline. He is currently a leader on the Syneos Health Insights & Innovation team, a group charged with leveraging deep expertise in virtual collaboration, behavioral science, trends-based-innovation, custom research and global marketing insights.