VA, IBM Watson Team Up For Cancer Research On Veterans

IBM Watson

VA plans to team up with IBM Watson and numerous agencies to start using cancer research on veterans much sooner by apparently bypassing traditional clinical trials.

According to Military Times, “While other agencies will focus on research and clinical trials, VA doctors will be putting those advances to work as soon as this fall, in hopes of saving more veterans’ lives.”

Is this propaganda / politically correct code for, “We will research the advances on veterans so IBM can later sell the solutions to private hospitals? We hope more veterans are saved than in the past, too.”

VA says it hopes to help at least 10,000 veterans with new, targeted therapies.

The artificial intelligence system IBM Watson will process individualized treatment plans within the day. Watson’s genomics technology program will be made available to VA doctors the same day under the health care plan.

RELATED: IBM Watson To Fix VA Health Care Records Problem

IBM Watson is a cutting edge artificial intelligence software system with many uses. VA plans to use it to fix its health records system. Some speculate it will replace the Veterans Benefits Administration.


According to Wikipedia about IBM Watson:

“On January 9, 2014 IBM announced it was creating a business unit around Watson, led by senior vice president Michael Rhodin. IBM Watson Group will have headquarters in New York’s Silicon Alley and will employ 2,000 people. IBM has invested $1 billion to get the division going. Watson Group will develop three new cloud-delivered services: Watson Discovery Advisor, Watson Engagement Advisor, and Watson Explorer. Watson Discovery Advisor will focus on research and development projects in pharmaceutical industry, publishing and biotechnology, Watson Engagement Advisor will focus on self-service applications using insights on the basis of natural language questions posed by business users, and Watson Explorer will focus on helping enterprise users uncover and share data-driven insights based on federated search more easily. The company is also launching a $100 million venture fund to spur application development for “cognitive” applications. According to IBM, the cloud-delivered enterprise-ready Watson has seen its speed increase 24 times over—a 2,300 percent improvement in performance, and its physical size shrank by 90 percent—from the size of a master bedroom to three stacked pizza boxes. IBM CEO Virginia Rometty said she wants Watson to generate $10 billion in annual revenue within ten years.”

Under Secretary of Health, David Shulkin, MD, is excited about the prospect of using advanced treatment models on veterans quicker than normal.

“We’re essentially taking expertise that exists in our high-end centers and making sure that it is available in even our most rural centers,” said Dr. Shulkin. “It’s going to result in different treatment options and better decisions, and making sure every veteran is getting world-class cancer care.”


I am glad VA is finally ready to focus on cancer care. My only question is why the cancer care was not a focus sooner? It seems like big bucks might be at the end of the rainbow here.

My only question is why the cancer care was not a focus sooner? It seems like big bucks might be at the end of the rainbow here, and it’s somewhat curious VA is implementing this yet to be proven treatment system on veterans.

But what else is new?

RELATED: Will Artificial Intelligence Calculate Your Disabilities?

Hundreds of thousands of veterans have likely suffered through cancer without advanced care like this. Why did those veterans not get access to the best cancer treatment before?

Apparently, the difference is that IBM wants to use its Watson advanced computer system to research on veterans.

RELATED: 10 Predictions About Watson’s Impact On Lawyers

My guess is IBM has identified a new and profitable use for its computer system that can earn a great deal of money once proven on veterans, repackaged and sold to the private sector.


Similar Posts


  1. each time i used to read smaller articles or reviews which as well clear their motive, and that is also happening with this piece of
    writing which I am reading now.

  2. You are right about the research to profit in the private sector. So what is new? In 1996 the UCLA/VA Medical Center Research Unit in Los Angels lost their accreditation for these tactics including not telling the veterans they were being used as research subjects. Tuskegee all over again.

  3. The younger veterans, under 40’s I’ve spoke to about Watson think this is a great idea, so I started looking around for more info & found this article posted Jun 29, 2016 in Forbes:

    IBM Watson had already worked with the VA for a project involving mental health. (The project is completed, but no results have yet been made public.)


  4. Follow the VA $$$. IBM found 1.1 billion dollars to come up with this plan,, VA lost that much last year. In 10 years IBM will make 10 billion dollars, well I’m sure the VA can lose that much. I still can’t get the numbers to add up. Personally, I wouldn’t let the VA doctors do any diagnosis, and very limited treatment.

  5. Anymore, vets and civilians are guinea pigs with meds, vaccines, diagnostic testing (false results either saying you have cancer & you don’t or you do have cancer and they say your fine except for possibly a virus).There’s a lot of money for chemo, many other related drugs drugs & morphine, somebody has to pay for all of these meds. whether you need it or not.
    BTW:IBM was involved with Debold in acquiring info for life insurance policies for folks PRIOR TO WW11. With the vets, the info is readily available.
    Nothing like having secure targets like our vets.

  6. Laugh if you wish, but consistently in the past, Science Fiction writers and illustrators have had an uncanny way of foretelling a future present.
    In this case we potentially have DOD/VHA having access to IBM Watson, aka “SKYNET”, and ALL the warm bodies needed for “research”…it just made me think a bit about the very first Terminator movie, which *just happened* to be released is no less than the very year “1984”, which coupled with the book titled “1984” it just fills me with a sense of dread.

    How about the VHA fixing it’s chronic problems first before creating new ones like 91veteran inferred?

    1. Namnibor,

      Can you imagine what would happen if they devoted these kinds of resources to tracking down the causes of cancer.

      Of course Veterans would then be able to prevail in claims. Actions could be taken to prevent future cancers by prevent people from being exposed to what ever causes the different cancers. Such as Agent Orange, burn pits, vaccines, or GMOs …

      Of course all the major pharma companies, research institutions, pharma researches …, would lose a lot of money with the reduction of new cases of cancer.

  7. I just now heard on the local news that the VA announced a 2014 study on Veteran Suicide…and what I found interesting is the VA has now whittled-down that 22 Vets a day down to now (according to the VA stats) 20 a day…as if that’s an acceptable number!!!. Watch this closely, as I believe the VA is slowly closing that stat down in numbers in a VA Spin Machine kind of way…the next study will probably show even less….however, the VA’s own study showed Veterans are 22% MORE LIKELY to commit suicide over non-Veterans….so how exactly is this a perceived “improvement”?

    Seems to me all the VA “study” did was switch the 22 and 20 around and probably charged a few million for the study, as we know the VA outsources everything.

    Lies, all lies. I am thinking that IBM Watson might just refuse to deal with the idiots at the VA…wouldn’t that be something if Watson does not even feel safe? 🙂

    1. You know I don’t believe that veterans are taking their own lives By themselves. !

      I believe. The VA has issued to many drug’s on us. Experiment. !

      Wonder. How many were taking certain medications.?

      I really think there is way more to this than want is being said. !

      We. Know they been using us as gunnie pig’s. !

      But. When is enough. Enough. !

  8. IBM has been trying to find it’s place in the world since the lucrative “mainframe” business got pushed aside in the 80’s by the advent of PCs and servers. Watson is their hope of making a push of some kind to a product they “brainstormed” where they will have ownership of whatever this product can do – which nobody knows yet. IBM has inroad as a long time partner with the government (city, state, federal) because they are, after all, “IBM” IBM is licking it’s chops for something as profitable as the old days (mainframe) instead of trying to compete with every service company out there and having to abate their profit margins to do so. IBM is a bunch of spoiled babies where everybody that joins the company is totally brainwashed by the company to “act like an IBMer” They want to keep their culture with a “new Product” that has “done wonders for the beleaguered VA” so their promotions will hopefully state as a selling point. I knew lotsa of IBMers – and they all suck !

  9. I think IBM Watson is a solution in search of a problem. Throw whatever at it and try make money off the output.
    With that said, any solution or treatment plan they get out of it will only be as good as the data put into it, and since many VA doctors seem to prefer using leeches for medical care, I don’t see Watson being very successful.
    On the other hand, if someone in upper management sees a possibility of making a lot of money, maybe they will push VA doctors to put in good data.
    Question is, how much trial and error will vets be forced to go through, and can they opt out of getting a treatment plan from Watson in favor of normal cancer care? Or will the VA force vets into this scheme?

    1. The VA will retrofit IBM Watson with a ‘Leech Hatch” in order for the Third World Hacks to pour a cup of leeches into Watson so those Dr.’s can feel more at home with the tech. 🙂

  10. Let us see what happens to all this goll dang nifty intelligence when we feed it information that the patient has been flagged as violent. Anyone have any ideas at all what Watson will spit out? What if the logic in he records does not match the logic the human doctors feed it? If the records indicate a peacefule personality, but the doctors say you have been flagged as violent, will Watson logically conclude that medications need to be changed?

    Or better yet, is Watson going to replace the Disruptive Behavior Committee and actually predict future violent acts and supersede to protect the staff? oh wait…. the humans already do that….

    Open the Bay doors HAL….

    1. Max Headroom, VA style. IBM Watson will become so infuriated with the corruption at the VA and all the bad data being fed into it, that it becomes totally self-aware and the VA has to take drastic action and air-drop Watson’s Core into the Aurora VAMC Black Hole or an active volcano, whichever is more handy. 🙂

    2. One day my friend. The truth will come out about the illegal disruptive committee and those employees will be fired

  11. Your question as to why not sooner? I suspect Atomic Veterans, Agent Orange. When the bulk of those vets were alive just think of the claims if they when into remission instead of died. You see it with the Blue Water Navy.

    1. You make me think of another question. Since this treatment by computer scheme is going to be costing money, where is that funding coming from? And is other cancer research suffering because IBM has better lobbyists?

  12. I don’t feel like being made into a lab rat and then being allowed to die! NO THANKS!

    1. Agree. 100 %. I keep asking when is enough. Enough. !

      If I had some clout. I would be using it. To get the media and anyone else that could get the word out for all veterans and U.S. citizens to assemble outside the white house. !

      And demand change today. Not tomarrow or next week. !

      Are we not worth it. !

      Are our children not worth it. !

      I vote Yes !

  13. The day before Bob got my husband’s case settled someone called the Anchorage police and said he was a VA patient and missing. The night before Debi Bevins called demanding his cell number and physical location so someone could make sure he was ok. Or, get themselves killed cornering him .

    John has outside doctors and refuses to go near a VA. But it shows how much the VA thinks they own you.

    That ain’t compensation for something you gave up to them it is rent and they think it means you belong to Bob.

  14. I can only speak to my experiences surviving colon cancer twice.The first in the care of the VA and the second in private health care. Both times, results of blood tests and definitive tests such as Colonoscopy in particular led to a proper diagnosis and successful treatment of my cancer. There was always a “medical doctor” involved in every stage of my treatment at both the VA hospital and private hospital. I believe both were life saving. I never met a DOCTOR WATSON!

  15. Ben ? When is enough. Enough. !

    How long are we going to stand by. !
    This. Is Nazi thinking and the veterans are not nothing. We have a family and don’t deserve to be test subject’s. !

    What. Will it take to start a assembly if veterans on Washington. !

    This should be done before the elections. We have seen non veterans group’s rally and action has been taken. !

    I think we have a perfect time. To assemble and let our veterans be heard. Loud and clear. !

    They have taken testing from the lab. Directly to the veterans. !

    How. Hard would it be for you. VA Is lieing. VA truth. To get the word out. !

    We are loosing our window to let veterans be heard in masses. !

    What can we do to assist you. ?

  16. Here’s the huge question: Is this IBM Watson IT included in the BILLIONS the VHA acquired to update the IT/Computer Systems or will this be yet another huge ca$h grab they are laying the foreplay, err, groundwork for?

    I hope IBM is ready for 1000’s of VHA Employees playing Minecraft Games and such instead of actually using the IBM Watson for actually helping Vets.
    Also, they better make IBM Watson able to fully communicate in all the various Third World Languages for these hacks….as Vets cannot understand them. They speak worse than a typical Dr.’s handwriting.
    I also hope IBM does NOT provide the VA a ‘backdoor’ or an OVERRIDE BUTTON for any results or Vets they do not like or feel it may encroach upon their performance bonuses.

    Why not tinker with the folks on Obamacare instead of Veterans? Then when perfected, bring it on. Better yet…how about all the lobbyist’s families and members of Congress…experiment on their families?

    In a mood as well. The VA always fills me with the urge to defecate, making my chronic IBS even worse. Rant Out.

  17. Would you or any veteran use the VA for cancer care. Let me tell you a story. When I worked at a vetrans home. I was a case manager. I tryed to work with the VA. It was part of my job to taken them to the doctors. I can’t tell you how many times I would take a client to the VA all the classic signs of cancer, they would do throat cultures, give an antibiotic and send them on their way. Back in two weeks we would go again, and again. Finally the Veteran was at the point of hospitalization. Then the big tests came. Yup cancer to late so sorry. 5 of 20 Veterans. I took one Veteran to church because he asked to go. It was the middle of the week. We went up to the pew where the preacher preaches from. We put our heads down to pray. We prayed in silence. I asked him if he had any special prayer. He said yes he wanted to god to give him 1 more year. It never happened. He died age 34 of multiple cancers. I stayed with him till the end. I swear to god if the VA would have listened as his case manager maybe he would have had that year. I would never trust the VA for cancer care.

    1. @Mary Rouse

      I had a “brother” pass away about two months ago of “pancreatic cancer”!
      He died a very, very painful death. Did the Daytona Beach VHA give a rats ass about him – Hell NO!
      They tried to diagnose him with diabetes! When he used Medicaid, that’s when the real diagnosis came out. Only, by that time, IT WAS TO FUCKING LATE! He was at “Stage Four”!

      “Brothers” who knew him, knew how much of a fighter he was. He was a Marine. He was on “Operation Baby Lift, (April 1975), and directly involved in the “Battle of Ko Tang” (sic), May, 1975! BTW, That was the end of the hostilities in South East Asia!

      As far as I’m concerned, any VHA healthcare professional he had seen in at least the past few years should be stripped of their licenses and be brought before the criminal justice system for “negligent homicide”!

      If y’all don’t believe I’m pissed – guess again!

      As namnibor would say;
      ” In a mood today! “

  18. Another insult to us. We dont matter. We are lab rats, lets check out some new weed killer, just dump it on men at war and wait 40 years. We will call it agent orange, in 40 years we will have the bugs worked out and re-label it as Round Up. That way we can sell seeds that “are safe” that Round up won’t kill. We will just deny it causes any health problems.

    Injections take to much effort, we will use air guns….ooops hepitius ‘C’….not a problem we will let a va employee use veterans as guinea pigs “on his own time” of couse so he can latter sell his new drug for billions and then claim it is to expensive to use on veterans that we infected.

    Now we are such as bad employer no qualified doctors want to work for us. The only people we can get graduated from the university of ali babba. And we all know how qualified they are. So lets pay IBM a few billion dollars to setup a new research facility, we already have the lab rats, you know some people call them vets, other people call them those who saved our democracy many times. We the VA call the expendable, cry babies who we could cate less about, but we get paid big bucks to pretend we do care.

    And the list goes on.

    Fuck these people, i will get in line for this crap as soon as ALl politicians and VA employees are in line in front of me.

    Make them use this garbage health care system and give us thier health care insurance.

  19. Here are some additional articles from “Military. com”
    “Daily News”

    “Report on VA Calls for Network of Public-Private Care Providers”
    7 July 2016
    (through) “Stars & Stripes”
    by Dianna Can

    Additionally there were two more articles on “Military. com”;

    ” Group Criticizes VA Commission for Failing to Vote on Recommendations”


    “Report: VA Health Care Still Has ‘Profound Deficiencies'”

    Take the time to google each article. The last “Report”, I believe we veterans already were aware of!!!!!

  20. Can y’all imagine, VHA, (“witch”), doctors, and possibly nurses pretending to be physicians, in control of sophisticated computers. All while using veterans as “guinea pigs” for cancer research!
    (Remember my explaining HOW my ‘brother’ was misdiagnosed – VA said, “diabetes” – outside physicians said, “pancreatic cancer”!)
    I’m not sure IF this is such a good idea.
    On the surface, it sounds reasonable. Yet, digging deeper, not so much. Why? Because, I believe most, if not all of, VHA’s healthcare providers could not pass a “current medical exam!” Let alone operate a complex computer!
    Plus, how did Shulkin come up with the idea VHA’s could use veterans as guinea pigs? Doesn’t he realize veterans may not want any VHA to use them as guinea pigs?! Doesn’t Shulkin realize the “Trust Factor” against many VHA’s is at an all time LOW?!?!?
    Where is his head at? Probably up McDucks and Gibsons rear end!

  21. As long as the VA continues to refuse to follow the LAWS and CONGRESS and the VA’s own set Regulations, how THE HELL is the VA capable of following the direction of a super advanced computer? I suspect Watson might bruise some idiot doctor’s egos.

    I will go as far as saying that the VA is a Malicious Virus that will ALSO infect the IBM Watson Computer…except the VA is a SUPER VIRUS to *any* high tech, which includes the very Veterans the VA is supposed to ‘serve’.


    Does anyone have the same trepidation with knowing the VA will be handling advanced radioactive treatments and chemotherapies? Again, give me a REAL witch doctor, not a VA variety one!!!!!!

  22. This new system will is a great big win for big pharma and Medical Researcher institutions connected to the VA. Sadly, it also means that not only are they being provided with the Veterans used in Human Subject Research but also we are providing them with VA Health Care facilities with a means to avoid the protections, oversight and the peer review system of our current Clinic Trial System.

    Our current Clinic Trail System is the product of more than a hundred years of legislation developed by congress, the medical community and the public. But this new system will circumvent the protections of human subjects, the oversight of ethical research and the peer review system to maintain integrity of medical knowledge.

    This will make all government funded health care programs very deadly. Including Military Health Care, Tri-care, Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans Health Care, and AFGEs own government employees Health Care system.

    No wonder they want to take doctors who will understand what is going on with a persons health out of the picture at the VA. Using APNs is like compartmentalizing health care with APNs that are only trained in a small aspect of what is going on with a persons health and will not be able to see the big picture.

Comments are closed.