IBM Watson aligns with 16 health systems and imaging firms to apply cognitive computing to battle cancer, diabetes, heart disease

The supercomputer will be used to mine insights from ‘previously invisible’ unstructured imaging data and combine it with other information to make personalized care decisions that also impact broader patient populations.
By Bernie Monegain
03:15 PM
IBM Watson cognitive computing

IBM Watson Health has formed a medical imaging collaborative with more than 15 leading healthcare organizations. The goal: To take on some of the most deadly diseases.

The collaborative, which includes health systems, academic medical centers, ambulatory radiology providers and imaging technology companies, aims to help doctors address breast, lung, and other cancers; diabetes; eye health; brain disease; and heart disease and related conditions, such as stroke.

Watson will mine insights from what IBM calls previously invisible unstructured imaging data and combine it with a broad variety of data from other sources, such as data from electronic health records, radiology and pathology reports, lab results, doctors' progress notes, medical journals, clinical care guidelines and published outcomes studies. 

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As the work of the collaborative evolves, Watson's rationale and insights will evolve, informed by the latest combined thinking of the participating organizations.   

The goal of the initiative is to help physicians make personalized care decisions regarding specific patients, while also building a trove of knowledge to benefit broader patient populations.

"There is strong potential for systems like Watson to help to make radiologists more productive, diagnoses more accurate, decisions more sound, and costs more manageable," Nadim Michel Daher, a medical imaging and informatics analyst for Frost and Sullivan, said in a statement. "This is the type of collaborative initiative needed to produce the real-world evidence and examples to advance the field of medical imaging and address patient care needs across large and growing disease states."

IBM Watson Health Vice President of Imaging Anne Le Grand added that applying cognitive computing to imaging can help providers glean insights that inform diagnoses and treatments.

"Through IBM's medical imaging collaborative, Watson may create opportunities for clinicians to extract greater insights and value from imaging data while better managing costs,” LeGrand said.

Members of the new collaborative include: Agfa HealthCare, Anne Arundel Medical Center, Baptist Health South Florida, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Hologic, Inc., ifa systems AG, inoveon, Radiology Associates of South Florida, Sentara Healthcare, Sheridan Healthcare, Topcon, UC San Diego Health, University of Miami Health System, University of Vermont Health Network, vRad and Merge Healthcare, which is part of IBM.

Twitter: @Bernie_HITN
Email the writer: bernie.monegain@himssmedia.com


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