The pilot project of Watson for Oncology in KazIOR

On August 6-8, the second working session of the pilot project on introducing Watson for Oncology artificial intelligence system was held in KazIOR with participation of IBM specialists from the United Kingdom and United States.

This session is a continuation of the work initiated by the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Kazakhstan to introduce a cognitive platform for decision-making in the treatment of patients with oncological pathology and assessing the risks of its development. The first working session with participation of IBM experts was held on the basis of KazIOR in July 16 -18, 2018.

This session was devoted to the clinical process and the goals that can be more effectively achieved with the help of Watson for Oncology artificial intelligence system. The session was attended by IBM experts Sylvia Marcy (Transformation Consultant, IBM Watson Health), William Kerr (Sr. Solution Architect, IBM Watson Health Watson and Cloud Platform), Mehul Patel (Clinical Adoption Specialist, IBM Watson Health) from US, George Drungas (Clinical Adoption Specialist, IBM Watson Health) from Great Britain, Gayane Harutyunyan (Business Analytic Systems Architect, IBM Corporation Russia) from Moscow. On behalf of KazIOR, the working group under the leadership of the director of the Institute, academician of the Academy of Sciences of RK Dilyara Kaidarova, participated in the session. Representatives of the Republican Center for E-Health, Almaty Oncology Center, Kazakhstan office of IBM and partner company - Open Systems Development, which provided technical support for the session, also attended the session.

During the session, there was presented a methodology for identifying and analyzing the benefits for users and owners of the cognitive artificial intelligence platform, based on the priorities of quality, efficiency and innovation. This methodology was developed specifically for Kazakhstan healthcare system.  As noted by IBM experts, the Republic of Kazakhstan is a potentially powerful beneficiary of the artificial intelligence system, and today it is the only state in the post-Soviet space, except Russia, where this innovative product can work successfully. Today, the Watson for Oncology artificial intelligence system is implemented in 21 countries, including the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Sweden, Greece, Mongolia, South Korea, China, Thailand, India, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, the Netherlands.

As our IBM colleagues-experts presented, the Watson for Oncology system is a powerful resource that can be used at various stages and levels of oncological service in the Republic of Kazakhstan. In particular, this cognitive platform has a number of advantages at the stage of supporting the clinical decision-making - so-called "primary counseling" stage. During this stage the fate of the patient is actually decided, namely how timely and qualitatively he will be examined and a decision is made about the nature of the special treatment. The resource possibilities for the work of multidisciplinary teams were considered in detail, and this work not only supports the principle of multimodal and complex treatment in modern oncology, but also provides clinicians with a powerful evidence base from sources published in the world's leading scientific journals and clinical guidelines developed by the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the National Cancer Comprehensive Network. The experts presented the capacities of Watson for Oncology to provide the doctors of KazIOR and Almaty Oncology Center with so-called "second opinion" in complex and atypical cases of diseases. Finally, the wide possibilities of the artificial intelligence system for training and improving the professional skills of residents and young doctors and the processes of interaction between KazIOR and regional cancer centers have been discovered. These areas of application of artificial intelligence system are consistent with the goals and objectives of cancer service development, laid down in the Strategic Plan of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2014-2018.

During the working session, KazIOR doctors-oncologists were able to get acquainted practically with the system operation and independently entered their own clinical cases to assess the effectiveness of diagnosis and treatment. Physicians of all clinical centers such as centers of chemotherapy, onco-gynecology, head and neck tumors, oncourology, abdominal and thoracic oncology and mammology attended the practical part of the session. In total, during the session, 25 clinical cases, reflecting the main nosologies and supported by Watson for Oncology were entered into the system. In some cases, our doctors modeled the progression of the disease in a particular patient and received recommendations from the Watson for Oncology system, taking into account the nature of the tumor process and treatment performed. The system creates a very important resource for future stages of treatment, and provides doctors with professional support and, what is very important, gives hope to the patient.

In the nearest future a decision of the Ministry of Health on practical implementation of the artificial intelligence system is expected. KazIOR will be the first clinic working with this innovative product in Kazakhstan.

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