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IBM Watson Health and global imaging leaders partner for disease prevention

by Gail Kalinoski, Contributing Reporter | June 27, 2016
Business Affairs Health IT Risk Management
Watson may soon be able to predict whether a patient will have a heart attack or develop cancer or other medical conditions, thanks to a global medical imaging collaborative formed by IBM Watson Health.

The initiative comprises more than 15 leading health systems, academic medical centers, ambulatory radiology providers, and imaging technology companies. It aims to bring cognitive imaging into daily practices to help doctors address breast, lung, and other cancers; diabetes; eye health; brain disease; and heart disease and related conditions such as strokes.

They will put Watson to work extracting insights from imaging data and combine it with information from other sources to help doctors make more personalized care decisions. The information may be culled from electronic health records, radiology and pathology reports, lab results, doctors’ progress notes, medical journals, clinical care guidelines and published outcomes studies.

Founding members of the collaborative are: 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 and vRad, a MEDNAX company, as well as Merge Healthcare, an IBM company.

“There is strong potential for systems like Watson to help make radiologists more productive, diagnoses more sound, and costs more manageable,” Nadim Michel Daher, a medical imaging and informatics analyst for Frost & Sullivan, said in an IBM press release. “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.”

The collaborative members are expected to work with Watson Health cognitive computing experts to help train Watson on various conditions and diseases using their data and other registries around the globe. The industry members could also integrate Watson into their workflow systems or image management software.

Forbes noted that Watson Health already has data on about 300 million patients and the collaborative and its members will enhance that information.

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