At Manipal Hospitals, AI is being used to personalize cancer care

Manipal Hospitals has tied up with Watson for Oncology to provide personalized treatment recommendations for cancer patients. 

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With just 1600 oncologists across India, they are often in a tight spot to keep themselves abreast of the best treatments for their patients.

This is a worrying scenario, when compared to other countries like the US where cancer hospitals have about 40-50 oncologists per center.

Using Cognitive tech to fight cancer

To provide better treatment and personalized medication for cancer patients, Manipal Hospitals decided to leverage Watson technology. The cognitive platform uses machine learning, which keeps improving treatment recommendations through self-learning. 

... The team stretched itself to adapt to multiple global time zones, and developed solutions that would work across a variety of HIS systems (Trakcare/Praxify/Wipro).
Nandkishor Dhomne
CIO, Manipal Hospitals

To execute the idea, a multi-disciplinary group of clinical, technology and pharmacy experts was set up. 

“The team stretched itself to adapt to multiple global time zones, and developed solutions that would work across a variety of HIS systems (Trakcare, Praxify/Wipro),” says Nandkishor Dhomne, CIO, Manipal Hospitals. 

Despite the lack of EMR-based HIS at the teaching facilities, Manipal Hospitals designed an indigenously developed system that the doctors could use with Watson.

Improving doctor-patient relationship 

Following the system rollout at all cancer hospitals, the team travelled to various locations for the next phase. The idea was to understand local issues and work closely with the doctors, especially in the teaching hospitals. 

A unique cost feature was designed to help doctors share cost information of each chemotherapy regime, thereby helping the patient stay cognizant of treatment costs.

“This increased transparency of information to the patient, and enhanced the patient doctor relationship,” adds Dhomne. 

Manipal Hospitals also devised novel ways to share the Watson statistics and treatment education information with the patient. This was done by automatically generating personalized PDF files, which the patient could later carry with him. 

“We have also devised a special training manual that helped doctors understand Watson better,” adds Dhomne. 

The idea – that keeps on giving

Manipal Hospitals has been able to provide almost 657 Watson recommendations. This has increased brand value for the organization across the globe. 

The project is helping modernize the medical Oncology department at Manipal Hospitals. It’s a win-win for everyone as the healthcare provider continues to use advanced artificial intelligence, cognitive computing and NLP for cancer treatments in the country.