Watson becomes tutor for medical students at Humanitas University

For the first time in Europe, IBM Watson enters a Medical University, helping doctors train new generations
Project goal: to improve the quality of teaching by supporting medical professors and by enhancing personalized learning in a time-efficient manner

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Milan, Italy, 15 November 2016—The Humanitas University and Humanitas Research Hospital announce today that they have signed a collaboration project with IBM to experiment with Watson to help teach and pursue research in the medical sector. The collaboration brings together IBM’s advanced cognitive computing capabilities and the medical knowledge and excellence of Humanitas.

Phase-change neuronsIn particular, Humanitas University (“Humanitas”) has launched a research project with IBM for the application of Cognitive Computing to the path of training of its medical students augmenting students’ capabilities.

The project involves the creation and testing of a Cognitive Tutor to serve both doctors and medical students.

The Medical Cognitive Tutor, powered by Watson Developer Cloud, provides personalized study platform for students of Humanitas University, through the choice of content, simulations, feedbacks and insights with the level of knowledge of the individual student, through a simple interface as an app.

The project addresses Humanitas’ need to make more efficient and effective the training path of third-year medical students, in their transition from pre-clinical activities to clinical practice. Currently doctors at the hospital work alongside the students, who face the first cases and early diagnosis in the department.

The Medical Cognitive Tutor, powered by Watson Developer Cloud, will contain medical and clinical contents provided by Humanitas based on scientific literature, de-identified information from patients, EMRs and Humanitas Doctors experience (best practices) and will help students to explore complex situations, choose between different health records, augmenting their potential capabilities while students simulate medical decisions in terms of diagnosis, medical tests and treatments.

As with all the cognitive solutions in the medical field, the system in this case does not replace medical professors, but supports them in their tutoring through a reasoned selection of cases and a control dashboard on the choices and the steps taken by the students.

Decisive for the choice were the strategic nature of the cognitive tools in the evolution of medical practice, the clinical and scientific value of the solution and the effectiveness of managing the valuable time of doctors and the growth of a personalized tutor for students.

“Pursuing continuous innovation has always been one of our main goals both in medicine and education. We think this partnership with IBM is really interesting and challenging,” said Giorgio Ferrari, Chief Executive Officer Humanitas University. “This agreement is a further demonstration of our willingness to continue to invest in the training of tomorrow doctors by using cutting edge tools and approaches, key in a crucial sector like healthcare”.

The project is developed by Humanitas medical staff who worked with developers and researchers from IBM Italy and the IBM Research – Zurich.

“With this research project we are developing in Italy a world-leading solution for the use of cognitive technologies in supporting instruction in university education,” said Enrico Cereda CEO IBM Italy. “This demonstrates the commitment of IBM to invest resources and expertise in healthcare industry alongside the medical excellences of our country.”

Press contact

Chris Sciacca
Media Relations
IBM Research - Zurich
Tel +41 44 724 84 43

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