Resultados 1 a 7 de 7
  1. #1
    WHT-BR Top Member
    Data de Ingresso
    Dec 2010

    [EN] Customer afterlife value

    Leslie Scism
    Aug. 31, 2017

    A federal trial in Los Angeles next week will test an increasing concern for Americans: How much leeway do their life insurers have when raising the price on old policies?

    In 2004, investors teamed with Praises of Zion Baptist Church in south Los Angeles to take out policies for 2,400 churchgoers in the area, most of whom couldn’t otherwise afford them. The investors receive $225,000 of each $275,000 death benefit, while church-related social-service programs and beneficiaries of the insured mostly African-American congregants split the remaining $50,000.

    The policies were purchased during the peak in “investor-owned” life insurance, an arrangement whereby investors pay the premiums on policies for people who aren’t their relatives.

    In 2013, Aegon NV’s Transamerica Life Insurance Co. raised the rates on those policies.

    Long considered taboo, increasing the costs on older policies is becoming more commonplace among insurers as they look to overcome nearly a decade of ultralow interest rates. Insurers earn part of their profit from investing premiums until claims come due, typically in bonds. At least a half-dozen prominent insurers have bumped up prices over the past several years, according to financial advisers.

    Praises of Zion Baptist Church and DCD Partners LLC, the current co-owner of its policies, allege that Transamerica impermissibly used race-based data in calculating a 50% rate increase. They have fought back with a lawsuit, saying the jump has added $100 million in costs and makes the program unsustainable.

    “There is some evidence from which one might infer that Transamerica targeted these Policies for [a rate] increase because of the race of the insureds,” Judge Christina Snyder, of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, wrote in an Aug. 9 ruling on the lawsuits’ claims, moving the case to trial, with DCD as the plaintiff.

    Even so, she said her decision “should not be read to imply that said evidence is compelling.” Judge Snyder dismissed​ claims in ​​the lawsuit​ including negligent misrepresentation, saying what remains for trial “is principally a contract dispute between Transamerica and DCD.”

    The trial, set for Sept. 5, will sort out the exact methodology Transamerica used to raise rates. Race-based premiums have been banned for decades in the U.S.

    In a statement, Transamerica called the allegations “categorically false and offensive.” “Transamerica did not raise rates on the policies due to the race of those insured, nor would we ever increase rates based on racial considerations,” the company said, arguing that the increase is permitted under the policies’ terms and meets all legal requirements.

    In deciding on the size of the increase, Transamerica said its actuary reviewed the 80 to 90 death claims in the DCD church program as of 2012, then “applied his actuarial training, knowledge and experience” to come up with a rate that would allow the policies to prospectively break even.

    Among other things, the actuary took into account interest-rate expectations, according to the insurer. The 50% increase applied “to all policies of the same class,” it said.

    Transamerica was one of three large life insurers that increased their rates before 2015 in what, at the time, were considered fairly isolated events. Since then, however, at least five other big insurers have raised rates, according to ITM TwentyFirst, a firm that manages policies for trustees and institutions. The increases range from mid-single-digit percentages to more than 200%.

    Increasingly, customers are filing lawsuits to challenge the moves. The DCD case is one of the first to make its way to trial.

    It also sheds light on the once-hot use of “investor-owned” life insurance for nonprofit fundraising. Back in the early to mid-2000s, “there was a lot of marketing sizzle around it,” recalls Bryan Clontz, president of advisory firm Charitable Solutions LLC.

    A high-profile example was the 2006 “Gift of a Lifetime” program supported by oilman T. Boone Pickens at his alma mater Oklahoma State University. Expected to generate up to $250 million, the plan was abandoned after low-cost financing for premiums dried up in the 2008 markets meltdown.

    Eventually, investors “realized that they did not have the expertise to monitor this, nor could they afford to hire the expertise,” said insurance attorney Stephan Leimberg. He and other critics say the arrangements can put charities in the awkward spot of being better off financially if the insured people die quickly.

    Under the arrangement with Praises of Zion Baptist Church, $15,000 of each $275,000 death benefit is allocated to help pay for burials, and $35,000 goes to nonprofit social-service programs and churches.

    Rev. J. Benjamin Hardwick, senior pastor and founder of the church, said the policies help poor congregants afford proper burials. So far, they’ve paid for 188 funerals. All told, about $50 million of the potential $660 million in death benefits have been paid out, according to his lawyer, William A. Brewer III, of Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors.

    “It’s a bitter pill for me to swallow” if the increase stands and investors pull out, Rev. Hardwick said. “People are being buried with dignity…. I know the [financial] condition of these people. They need this insurance desperately.”
    Última edição por 5ms; 31-08-2017 às 16:00.

  2. #2
    WHT-BR Top Member
    Data de Ingresso
    Dec 2010
    Citação Postado originalmente por 5ms Ver Post

    The investors receive $225,000 of each $275,000 death benefit.

    $15,000 is allocated to help pay for burials and $35,000 goes to church-related social-service programs

    “It’s a bitter pill for me to swallow” if the increase stands and investors pull out, Rev. Hardwick said.
    Sem dúvida.

    188 x US$ 35 mil => US$ 6,5 milhões
    Última edição por 5ms; 31-08-2017 às 16:09.

  3. #3
    WHT-BR Top Member
    Data de Ingresso
    Dec 2010

    Healthcare’s nonprofit status belongs in the grave

    Robert Cyran
    September 13, 2017

    A $3.75 billion takeover shows how the nonprofit status many healthcare firms enjoy belongs in the grave. The price publicly traded Centene is paying for New York-based health insurer Fidelis is not so much the problem. It's the fact that the seller's priest-chief executive, Patrick Frawley, was paid an ungodly $2.7 million in 2014, the latest year public data is available for.

    Some of the compensation packages make it look like Fidelis's Frawley is wearing a hair shirt. Ascension, a Roman Catholic hospital chain that has gobbled up rivals, paid its CEO $17.6 million three years ago.

    Sure, these institutions provide lots of care to the poor. And running a big hospital with a teaching program is difficult. So pay at these institutions tends to run higher than at small community operations, according to a 2014 study of nonprofit hospital CEO compensation in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

    The problem is that the same study found no link between how much institutions paid their leaders and measures of quality such as mortality and readmission rates.

    The research also identified a link between higher pay and use of shiny new gadgets. That's a problem throughout the U.S. healthcare system. Hospitals spend heavily on items such as surgical robots and highly paid specialists to lure price-insensitive patients - and insurers and the government end up reimbursing sky-high bills.

    The upshot is that the nation spends, at 18 percent, almost twice as much of its GDP on healthcare as most developed countries. Yet it ranks relatively poorly in many measures, like preventing mortality from conditions that should not be fatal. Meanwhile, executives use the torrent of cash flowing past them to justify siphoning off high salaries.

    There's a growing wave of opposition to nonprofit healthcare. A New Jersey court ruled in 2015 that a big hospital was running parts of its operation like a for-profit enterprise based on the hefty salaries it paid. Meanwhile, dozens of towns are suing to force local institutions to pay tax or other fees. Euthanizing the tax break would be a social good.


    - Health insurer Centene said on Sept. 12 that it has agreed to pay $3.75 billion for Fidelis Care, a nonprofit health insurer in New York.

    - Fidelis will keep its headquarters in New York. Patrick Frawley will remain chief executive. Frawley, a Roman Catholic priest, received $2.7 million in compensation in 2014, the last year for which public data is available.

    - Ascension, a Roman Catholic hospital chain that has gobbled up rivals, paid its CEO $17.6 million three years ago.

  4. #4
    WHT-BR Top Member
    Data de Ingresso
    Dec 2010

    A new advertising tack for hospitals: IBM’s Watson supercomputer is in the house

    Ike Swetlitz and Casey Ross
    September 6, 2017

    There’s little evidence that IBM’s Watson supercomputer can correctly identify the best cancer treatments for a patient better than doctors do on their own. So why are hospitals around the world buying Watson for Oncology?

    One answer can be seen here in this Florida beach community, where a local hospital ran a TV commercial until last month trumpeting Watson. It opens with a man lying flat on his back, ready to enter a scanner, with upbeat piano music in the background. Seconds later, a surgical team starts to move in slow motion as the narrator’s voice drops a few notes.

    “Jupiter Medical Center is the first regional medical center in the country to adopt IBM Watson for Oncology,” the narrator says. An electric-blue globe whirls around, and the frame zooms in on Jupiter, one of the few places in the United States where cancer doctors are seeking treatment advice from this computer program developed by IBM.

    Since the ad began airing in April, about three dozen people have called the hospital inquiring about Watson, said Kathleen Ahern, Jupiter’s director of marketing.

    “They call and say, ‘Can I see Dr. Watson?’” said Kerri Ward, an oncology nurse.

    Of course, there is no Dr. Watson. But while a STAT investigation found that Watson is nowhere close to revolutionizing cancer treatment — as IBM’s marketing suggests — the calls show why the supercomputer is appealing to many hospitals. Watson’s cachet can be lucrative as a lure for additional cancer patients: Hospitals can charge thousands of dollars for treating each one.

    Watson’s ballyhooed win in “Jeopardy!”, combined with a marketing campaign featuring megastars Bob Dylan and Serena Williams, and the public’s infatuation with artificial intelligence — from the “Space Odyssey” computer HAL to the movie “Her” — help drive enthusiasm for a product with no published research supporting its impact on patient care.

    Though many hospitals are skeptical of Watson for Oncology and not signing up, others are seeing an opportunity in riding Watson’s coattails. They know that being associated with IBM and artificial intelligence will help their hospitals’ reputations.

    “One of the many reasons for the hospital to adopt this system is [that] we’d like to project an image … as technically advanced,” said Nan Chen, senior director for R&D and clinical data at Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand, which draws patients from all over the world.

    Bumrungrad was the first hospital to sign an agreement with IBM to implement Watson for Oncology. That was back in 2014. But before it got the system up and running, a large hospital network in India announced that it would also soon be offering the product. That pushed Bumrungrad to hasten its efforts so it would be able to claim it was the first to treat a patient using Watson for Oncology, Chen said.

    “We sort of have a bragging right,” he said.

    Most of the oncologists at the Thai hospital are board-certified by U.S. organizations, and they don’t need Watson to tell them what they already know, Chen said, though he emphasized that he thinks it’s a good technology. Doctors at a Mongolian affiliate, with less advanced training, have tapped into Watson to guide care of more than 50 patients, he noted.

    Elsewhere in Asia, a hospital in Guangzhou, China, has named part of its cancer service the “Panyu District Watson Institute of Oncology consultation center,” according to a press release. And a South Korean hospital hung a gigantic banner featuring the Watson globe from one of its buildings.

    Other hospitals are starting to market Watson’s oncology expertise as a sort of second-opinion service for patients. At the India hospital group, Manipal Hospitals, patients not being seen in its network of hospitals can buy a personalized Watson treatment recommendation for 9,500 rupees — about $150 —along with a videoconference with an oncologist. (A videoconference without Watson costs about $30.)

    A Taiwan hospital launched a similar service in July, where about $330 will buy you a Watson opinion and an in-person consultation with an oncologist, according to Dr. Jeng-Fong Chiou, executive vice superintendent for the Taipei Cancer Center at Taipei Medical University.

    Manipal CEO Dr. Ajay Bakshi said that, as of July, fewer than 100 people have bought the Watson consultation, and that the hospital is vigorously promoting the service across India.

    “If you are a middle-class patient that has cancer, and you’re worried [whether] your doctor is giving you the best treatment or not, it’s well worth it,” he said.

    Bakshi is hoping that Manipal’s multimillion-dollar investment in Watson for Oncology will improve the quality of cancer care overall — and draw more patients.

    “Our quality will, over a period of time, become better and better,” he said. “We will get more referrals and more patients of cancer walking into our hospitals. That’s happening in the first six to seven months after launch. It’s sort of a long-term bet we’ve taken.”

  5. #5
    WHT-BR Top Member
    Data de Ingresso
    Dec 2010

    IBM pitched its Watson as a revolution in cancer care. It’s nowhere close

    IBM employs 7,000 people in its Watson health division and sees the industry as a $200 billion market over the next several years.

    Casey Ross and Ike Swetlitz
    September 5, 2017

    It was an audacious undertaking, even for one of the most storied American companies: With a single machine, IBM would tackle humanity’s most vexing diseases and revolutionize medicine.

    Breathlessly promoting its signature brand — Watson — IBM sought to capture the world’s imagination, and it quickly zeroed in on a high-profile target: cancer.

    But three years after IBM began selling Watson to recommend the best cancer treatments to doctors around the world, a STAT investigation has found that the supercomputer isn’t living up to the lofty expectations IBM created for it. It is still struggling with the basic step of learning about different forms of cancer. Only a few dozen hospitals have adopted the system, which is a long way from IBM’s goal of establishing dominance in a multibillion-dollar market. And at foreign hospitals, physicians complained its advice is biased toward American patients and methods of care.

    STAT examined Watson for Oncology’s use, marketing, and performance in hospitals across the world, from South Korea to Slovakia to South Florida. Reporters interviewed dozens of doctors, IBM executives, artificial intelligence experts, and others familiar with the system’s underlying technology and rollout.

    The interviews suggest that IBM, in its rush to bolster flagging revenue, unleashed a product without fully assessing the challenges of deploying it in hospitals globally. While it has emphatically marketed Watson for cancer care, IBM hasn’t published any scientific papers demonstrating how the technology affects physicians and patients. As a result, its flaws are getting exposed on the front lines of care by doctors and researchers who say that the system, while promising in some respects, remains undeveloped.

    “Watson for Oncology is in their toddler stage, and we have to wait and actively engage, hopefully to help them grow healthy,” said Dr. Taewoo Kang, a South Korean cancer specialist who has used the product.

    At its heart, Watson for Oncology uses the cloud-based supercomputer to digest massive amounts of data — from doctor’s notes to medical studies to clinical guidelines. But its treatment recommendations are not based on its own insights from these data. Instead, they are based exclusively on training by human overseers, who laboriously feed Watson information about how patients with specific characteristics should be treated.

    IBM executives acknowledged Watson for Oncology, which has been in development for nearly six years, is in its infancy. But they said it is improving rapidly, noting that by year’s end, the system will offer guidance about treatment for 12 cancers that account for 80 percent of the world’s cases. They said it’s saving doctors time and ensuring that patients get top-quality care.

    “We’re seeing stories come in where patients are saying, ‘It gave me peace of mind,’” Watson Health general manager Deborah DiSanzo said. “That makes us feel extraordinarily good that what we’re doing is going to make a difference for patients and their physicians.”

    But contrary to IBM’s depiction of Watson as a digital prodigy, the supercomputer’s abilities are limited.

    Perhaps the most stunning overreach is in the company’s claim that Watson for Oncology, through artificial intelligence, can sift through reams of data to generate new insights and identify, as an IBM sales rep put it, “even new approaches” to cancer care. STAT found that the system doesn’t create new knowledge and is artificially intelligent only in the most rudimentary sense of the term.

    While Watson became a household name by winning the TV game show “Jeopardy!”, its programming is akin to a different game-playing machine: the Mechanical Turk, a chess-playing robot of the 1700s, which dazzled audiences but hid a secret — a human operator shielded inside.

    In the case of Watson for Oncology, those human operators are a couple dozen physicians at a single, though highly respected, U.S. hospital: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Doctors there are empowered to input their own recommendations into Watson, even when the evidence supporting those recommendations is thin.

    The actual capabilities of Watson for Oncology are not well-understood by the public, and even by some of the hospitals that use it. It’s taken nearly six years of painstaking work by data engineers and doctors to train Watson in just seven types of cancer, and keep the system updated with the latest knowledge.

    “It’s been a struggle to update, I’ll be honest,” said Dr. Mark Kris, Memorial Sloan Kettering’s lead Watson trainer. He noted that treatment guidelines for every metastatic lung cancer patient worldwide recently changed in the course of one week after a research presentation at a cancer conference. “Changing the system of cognitive computing doesn’t turn around on a dime like that,” he said. “You have to put in the literature, you have to put in cases.”

    Watson grew out of an effort to transform IBM from an old-guard hardware company to one that operates in the cloud and along the cutting edge of artificial intelligence. Despite its use in an array of industries — from banking to manufacturing — it has failed to end a streak of 21 consecutive quarters of declining revenue at IBM. In the most recent quarter, revenue even slid from the same period last year in IBM’s cognitive solutions division — which is built around Watson and is supposed to be the future of its business.

    In response to STAT’s questions, IBM said Watson, in health care and otherwise, remains on an upward trajectory and “is already an important part” of its $20 billion analytics business. Health care is a crucial part of the Watson enterprise. IBM employs 7,000 people in its Watson health division and sees the industry as a $200 billion market over the next several years. Only financial services, at $300 billion, is considered a bigger opportunity by the company.

    At stake in the supercomputer’s performance is not just the fortunes of a famed global company. In the world of medicine, Watson is also something of a digital canary — the most visible attempt to use artificial intelligence to identify the best ways to prevent and treat disease. The system’s larger goal, IBM executives say, is to democratize medical knowledge so that every patient, no matter the person’s geography or income level, will be able to access the best care.

    But in cancer treatment, the pursuit of that utopian ideal has faltered.

    STAT’s investigation focused on Watson for Oncology because that product is the furthest along in clinical care, though Watson sells separate packages to analyze genomic information and match patients to clinical trials. It’s also applying Watson to other tasks, including honing preventive medicine practices and reading medical images.

    Doctors’ reliance on Watson for Oncology varies among hospitals. While institutions with fewer specialists lean more heavily on its recommendations, others relegate the system to a background role, like a paralegal whose main skill is researching existing knowledge.

    Hospitals pay a per-patient fee for Watson for Oncology and other products enabled by the supercomputer. The amount depends on the number of products a hospital buys, and ranges between $200 and $1,000 per patient, according to DiSanzo. The system sometimes comes with consulting costs and is expensive to link with electronic medical records. At hospitals that don’t link it with their medical records, more time must be spent typing in patient information.

    At Jupiter Medical Center in Florida, that task falls to nurse Jean Thompson, who spends about 90 minutes a week feeding data into the machine. Once she has completed that work, she clicks the “Ask Watson” button to get the supercomputer’s advice for treating patients.

    On a recent morning, the results for a 73-year-old lung cancer patient were underwhelming: Watson recommended a chemotherapy regimen the oncologists had already flagged.

    “It’s fine,” Dr. Sujal Shah, a medical oncologist, said of Watson’s treatment suggestion while discussing the case with colleagues.

    He said later that the background information Watson provided, including medical journal articles, was helpful, giving him more confidence that using a specific chemotherapy was a sound idea. But the system did not directly help him make that decision, nor did it tell him anything he didn’t already know.

    Jupiter is one of two U.S. hospitals that have adopted Watson for Oncology. The system has generated more business in India and Southeast Asia. Many doctors in those countries said Watson is saving time and helping more patients get quality care. But they also said its accuracy and overall value is limited by differing medical practices and economic circumstances.

    Despite IBM’s marketing blitz, with years of high-profile Watson commercials featuring celebrities from Serena Williams to Bob Dylan to Jon Hamm, the company’s executives are not always gushing. In interviews with STAT, they acknowledged the system faces challenges and needs better integration with electronic medical records and more data on real patients to find patterns and suggest cutting-edge treatments.

    “The goal as Watson gets smarter is for it to make some of those recommendations in a more automated way, to sort of suggest now may be the time and let us flip the switch” when a promising treatment option emerges, said Dr. Andrew Norden, a former IBM deputy health chief who left the company in early August. “As I describe it, you’re probably getting a sense it’s really hard and nuanced.”

    Such nuance is absent from the careful narrative IBM has constructed to sell Watson.

  6. #6
    WHT-BR Top Member
    Data de Ingresso
    Dec 2010
    MD Anderson Cancer Center’s IBM Watson project fails, and so did the journalism related to it

    Mary Chris Jaklevic
    February 23, 2017

    We often call out overly optimistic news coverage of drugs and devices. But information technology is another healthcare arena where uncritical media narratives can cause harm by raising false hopes and allowing costly and unproven investments to proceed without scrutiny.

    A case in point is the recent collapse of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center’s ambitious venture to use IBM’s Watson cognitive computing system to expedite clinical decision-making around the globe and match patients to clinical trials.

    Launched in 2013, the project initially received glowing mainstream media coverage that suggested Watson was already being deployed to revolutionize cancer care–or soon would be.

    But that was premature. By all accounts, the electronic brain was never used to treat patients at M.D. Anderson. A University of Texas audit reported the product doesn’t work with Anderson’s new electronic medical records system, and the cancer center is now seeking bids to find a new contractor.

    The audit chronicles rife financial missteps by the cancer center including no competitive bidding, payments to vendors without documented results, and decision-making that skirted the medical center’s own IT department. The bungle cost $62 million paid to IBM and PricewaterhouseCoopers, plus uncalculated internal resources including staff time, technology infrastructure and administrative support, according to the audit. The cost was supposed to be shouldered by a single donor who didn’t come through with all of the promised funds.

    It’s uncertain how much of the failure was the fault of M.D. Anderson versus the limitations of the technology. But looking at early news coverage, it is clear journalists were not asking pointed questions about how the project was being financed or its capabilities when it comes to curing cancer.

    Overwhelmingly positive coverage of Watson ‘taking on cancer’

    The dominant narrative was that the technology that famously bested two human champions on the game show Jeopardy! in 2011 was being re-deployed to augment cancer care. Only limited play was given to the complexity of integrating medical research and patient records to craft an effective decision-making tool.

    A 2015 Washington Post story entitled “Watson’s next feat? Taking on cancer. IBM’s computer brain is training alongside doctors to do what they can’t,” mentioned some limitations of machine learning but took an overall positive tone. It describes Watson as “a revolutionary approach to medicine and health care that is likely to have significant social, economic and political consequences.”

    The story said also Watson would enable doctors “to find personalized treatments for every cancer patient by comparing disease and treatment histories, genetic data, scans and symptoms against the vast universe of medical knowledge.”

    But treating cancer is more complex than winning a trivia game, and the “vast universe of medical knowledge” may not be as significant as purveyors of artificial intelligence make it out to be, according to some observers.

    The problem isn’t too much data for humans–it’s too little

    “IBM spun a story about how Watson could improve cancer treatment that was superficially plausible – there are thousands of research papers published every year and no doctor can read them all,” said David Howard, a faculty member in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Emory University, via email. “However, the problem is not that there is too much information, but rather there is too little. Only a handful of published articles are high-quality, randomized trials. In many cases, oncologists have to choose between drugs that have never been directly compared in a randomized trial.”

    While Watson’s use in cancer care was still developing, a 2013 IBM news release declared MD Anderson “is using the IBM Watson cognitive computing system for its mission to eradicate cancer.”

    From what we know now, the system was a long way from being used for patient care. Yet some media reports echoed this premature language, suggesting it was or soon would be operational.

    Forbes ran a blog headlined “IBM’s Watson Now Tackles Clinical Trials At MD Anderson Cancer Center.” Forbes stated use in patient care “might come in early 2014.” It quoted an M.D. Anderson doctor saying: “It’s still in testing and not quite ready for the mainstream yet, but it has the infrastructure to potentially revolutionize oncology research.”

    Likewise Scientific American asserted: “The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center is using Watson to help doctors match patients with clinical trials, observe and fine-tune treatment plans, and assess risks as part of M. D. Anderson’s ‘Moon Shots’ mission to eliminate cancer.”

    The magazine gave the project another PR boost by publishing a blog post by IBM Chief Technology Officer Rob High and financier Jho Low, whose foundation funded the project, entitled “Expert Cancer Care May Soon Be Everywhere, Thanks to Watson.”

    No one seemed to ask does it improve patient outcomes? Lower costs?

    Largely missing in this coverage was a caveat about the lack of evidence that the technology improved patient outcomes, lowered costs, or provided some other benefit — something we demand in reporting on drugs, devices and tests.

    “Reporters are often susceptible to PR hype about the potential of new technology – from Watson to ‘wearables’ – to improve outcomes,” Howard said. “A lot of stories would turn out differently if they asked a simple question: ‘Where is the evidence?’”

    At this point, there isn’t much. While IBM has entered into numerous deals to use its artificial intelligence system in healthcare, a company spokeswoman said there’s no published study linking the technology to improved outcomes for patients because “the implementation of the technology is not there yet.”

    She did cite published studies showing the system met operational objectives, such as matching clinicians’ treatment recommendations in a given percentage of cases.

    When it comes to IT coverage, journalists should make a habit of pointing out gaps between what’s claimed and what’s been demonstrated to work.

    “Artificial intelligence has been suffering from overhype since the 1970s and 80s,” said Steven Salzberg, a professor of biomedical engineering at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. “Be skeptical and ask to see some evidence. (Technology companies) need to do more than simply assert that it works.”


    Carlos A Selmonosky, MD
    February 24, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    A statement that every physician should know”In many cases the oncologists( I assume most of the physicians) have to choose between drugs that have never directly compared( to other drugs manufactured by the same company ) in a randomized trial).

    Most of the new drugs are compared to “controls” or ineffective theraphies,Also inneffectual drug trials are not widely reported.

  7. #7
    WHT-BR Top Member
    Data de Ingresso
    Dec 2010

    Former IBM Watson Health employee on AI: The truth needs to come out

    Arundhati Parmar

    A recent interview with a former IBM employee who worked in the company’s life sciences group shows that the hype of artificial intelligence’s impact on healthcare was felt internally too.

    Several reported accounts in recent months, including the well-researched piece in Stat News, have documented how IBM Watson’s foray in healthcare has been far less noteworthy than advertised. In fact, other companies in the AI space have not hesitated to call out the company for overstating its capabilities. At MedCity News’ own cancer innovation conference – CONVERGE – earlier this summer in Philadelphia, Zach Weinberg, co-founder at Flatiron Health, who was a panelist along with an IBM Watson Health representative, took IBM to task as recorded by this tweet.

    “@IBMWatson not intellectually honest about what it is actually doing; instead using buzz wrds” @zachweinberg @flatironhealth #mcConverge

    — Eamon Gallagher (@PHLStartupLaw)

    Similarly, this former employee, who declined to speak on the record for fear of angering his powerful former employer, said that large marketing budgets have yielded a lot of advertising but no tangible off-the-shelf product.

    “The truth needs to come out. I am not trying to be too dramatic but I think it’s a lot of marketing,” the former employee said. “There’s a lot of money in marketing and there are a lot of ads on TV but I don’t actually see the products. Anytime anyone would want to see a product roadmap or wanted to see what the future is or when it was coming out, we never really got that timeline.”

    He explained that the promise of AI integration into products was dangled to him routinely but never materialized. Apparently, every six months, they would be told that it’s coming, but six months would come and go with nothing to show for it.

    “It was all proof of concept,” he said.

    Employees would also be encouraged to talk to pharma and biotech customers at industry events to engender excitement about the application of AI in different products that could bring about operational efficiency, but it’s difficult to persuade people without anything concrete, he said.

    “I think going in everyone was very excited about AI, so you want to push it,” the ex-IBM-er recalled. “We are going to save a lot of lives, make everything more efficient. Then as time wears on, you realize ‘Well, I don’t really see a way to make any real money selling something that’s smoke and mirrors at this point.'”

    Not everyone has experienced the same disillusionment when it comes to IBM’s artificial intelligence capabilities. While acknowledging that the road ahead is long and that AI is a toddler with lots to learn, Mayo Clinic’s CIO has publicly spoken about how the clinical trial matching capabilities of IBM Watson Health is an extremely useful tool.

    “Watson understands the inclusion/exclusion criteria. It has read all of ClinicalTrials.Gov,” said Cris Ross, at the HIMSS conference earlier this year. “It has read all of our clinical trials. It has read all of the world’s literature on oncology and then applies it against a subset of patients records to provide recommendations.”

    For the former IBM employee who now works at a startup, he has heard frustration from people who were colleagues.

    “Four people from IBM reached out to me to see if they could get a job,” where he currently works. “There’s a lot of frustration there. A lot of infighting and a lot of power jockeying and a lot of politics going on. So people are getting fed up and leaving left and right.”

    He reiteraed that he hasn’t seen any commercialized off-the-shelf AI product and that most IBM Watson efforts are simply proof-of-concept.

    An IBM Watson Health spokeswoman who did not want to comment on the record pushed back on his comments saying that Watson for Drug Discovery is a commercialized product that Pfizer and other organizations are using. The drug discovery product at least for Pfizer is customized to the pharma company’s own datasets, she explained. She added that not all IBM healthcare products will necessarily require an AI makeover or integration.

    The criticism comes as IBM Watson Health faces scrutiny over how it has represented AI capabilities as revolutionizing and fundamentally transforming healthcare, especially clinical decisionmaking. A clinical bioinformatics expert explained why IBM Watson Health may have a steep hill to climb when it comes to doing just that.

    “One of the big problems with any AI system is that you need data to train the algorithm. That is why radiology is a good application area–you can feed in thousands of examples where, say, a radiologist has found a tumor and soon the system learns to find tumors. The input data are well defined and the output states are limited,” said John Quackenbush, professor and director of the Center for Cancer Computational Biology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, in an email. “When you try to apply the system to medical decision making, it becomes more difficult. What is the right input data? Do you want to limit the analysis to a subset of the input data? And what are the right endpoint data? That becomes a challenge.”

    Silicon Valley VC and Sun Microsystems co-founder Vinod Khosla has publicly predicted how AI will take over radiology soon.

    While radiology could be a relatively easy application for AI, counterintuitively, IBM Watson Health has no current radiology product in the marketplace. Per the spokeswoman, those are still in development.

    It would appear that instead of chasing low-hanging fruit in healthcare, the company has going after something that is much harder to do and advertised its capability before such an application for AI is actually ready for prime time.

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