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Cleveland Clinic and IBM partner to develop standard for cognitive population health management

by Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | December 22, 2016
Business Affairs Health IT Population Health
Builds on long-standing relationship
Cleveland Clinic and IBM announced a five-year agreement today to expand the health system's HIT capabilities to better capture data across its nine regional hospitals and 18 family health centers.

“This initiative with IBM is mutually beneficial and will significantly advance our IT capabilities, which are increasingly important to provide the best care to patients as health care becomes more and more technology-dependent,” Dr. Toby Cosgrove, CEO and president of Cleveland Clinic, said in a statement.

The two will work together to create a model for Cleveland Clinic to transition to value-based care and population health management. They also plan to develop standards that can be used by providers around the country.

Cleveland Clinic physicians will be able to present clinical and administrative challenges to IBM's Watson, including mining large amounts of data. Watson's medical literature knowledge will help them with clinical care and administrative tasks.

With this technology, Cleveland Clinic will be able to analyze data from the EHR, information from administrative claims and social determinants of health. That could help physicians predict if diabetes patients are resistant to certain treatments.

It can also determine if there are similarities within a group of diabetes patients, which could help physicians better tailor care to the specific needs of the patients.

This agreement builds on a long-standing relationship between the two organizations. In 2011, IBM and Cleveland Clinic worked to train Watson to "think" like a physician.

IBM Research started an ongoing collaboration with the health system in 2013 to develop a Watson EMR assistant to help physicians quickly summarize and retrieve insights from EMRs.

In 2014, they started a pilot of Watson for Genomics to develop new cancer treatments based on a patient's genetic makeup. That same year, Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University announced Watson would be a part of a $515 million Health Education Campus opening in 2019.

Most recently, IBM acquired the health care intelligence cloud company Explorys. That company was developed by Cleveland Clinic physicians and IT experts, and then spun off in 2009.

“Now, together, we will bring cognitive computing and an entire portfolio of IBM technology offerings to transform clinical care and administrative operations across the Cleveland Clinic," Deborah DiSanzo, general manager of IBM Watson Health, said in a statement.

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