IBM Watson: a new tutor for medical students at Hunimed

For the first time in Europe IBM Watson enters at a Medical University, helping doctors in the training of new generations. Project goal: improving the quality of teaching by supporting medical professors and by enhancing personalized learning in conditions of time efficiency.

Humanitas University and Humanitas Research Hospital have signed a collaboration project with IBM to experiment with Watson in supporting teaching and research in the medical sector. In particular, Humanitas University has launched a research project with IBM for the application of Cognitive Computing to the path of training of its medical students in order to increase the students’ capabilities.

The project

IBM Watson and Humanitas Cognitive Tutor for medical studentsThe 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 through the choice of content, simulations, feedbacks and insights based on the level of knowledge of each student, through a simple interface as an app.

The project addresses Humanitas’ need to make more efficient and effective the training path of 3rd year medical students, in their transition from pre-clinical activities to clinical practice. Currently doctors 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, increasing 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.

Read more about medical training and tutoring at Humanitas University.

Pursuing innovation in medical education

“Pursuing continuous innovation has always been one of our main goals both in medicine and in education. We think this partnership with IBM is
really interesting and challenging – said Giorgio Ferrari, Chief Executive Officer of 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 factors 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 Zurich Research Center.

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


Humanitas is a highly specialized Hospital, Research and Teaching Center. Built around centers for the prevention and treatment of cancer, cardiovascular, neurological and orthopedic disease – together with an Ophthalmic Center and a Fertility Center – Humanitas also operates a highly specialised Emergency Department.