IBM’s well-known computer Watson will be used in a new Mayo Clinic strategy.  It was announced today that Mayo will lean on the cognitive computer to match patients with clinical trials - a process that has been very time consuming for humans.  The goal of the collaboration is to locate suitable patients faster, which would be very beneficial to ongoing studies at Mayo and other researchers.

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Mayo says at any given time, its researchers are involved in more than 8,000 human studies.  Mayo’s  version of Watson will be programmed to sift through available information and ensure that more patients are accurately and consistently matched with promising clinical trial options.


“In an area like cancer —where time is of the essence — the speed and accuracy that Watson offers will allow us to develop an individualized treatment plan more efficiently so we can deliver exactly the care that the patient needs,” says Steven Alberts, M.D., chair of medical oncology at Mayo Clinic.

Mayo says numerous clinical trials are held up or cancelled due to a lack of patient enrollment. Mayo hopes to double clinical trial involvement from the current 5 percent rate to 10 percent. Researchers say the higher participation also should improve the quality of research outcomes.