Medical Imaging Leaders Tap IBM and Watson to Tackle Cancer, Diabetes, Eye Health, Brain Disease and Heart Disease

June 22, 2016: IBM today announced it has formed a Watson Health medical imaging collaborative, a global initiative comprised of more than fifteen leading health systems, academic medical centers, ambulatory radiology providers and imaging technology companies. The collaborative aims to bring cognitive imaging into daily practice to help doctors address breast, lung, and other cancers; diabetes; eye health; brain disease; and heart disease and related conditions, such as stroke. 

Members of the collaborative plan to put Watson to work to extract insights from previously ‘invisible’ unstructured imaging data and combine that with a broad variety of data from other sources. In doing so, the efforts may help physicians make personalized care decisions relevant to a specific patient while building a body of knowledge to benefit broader patient populations. This information may include data from electronic health records, radiology and pathology reports, lab results, doctors’ progress notes, medical journals, clinical care guidelines and published outcomes studies.

Foundational members for the 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 and vRad, a MEDNAX (NYSE: MD) company as well as Merge Healthcare, an IBM company. As the work of the collaborative evolves Watson’s rationale and insights will evolve, informed by the latest combined wisdom of these organizations.   

Initial plans include training Watson and evaluating potential new offerings in a variety of patient care environments ranging from stand-alone ambulatory settings to integrated health delivery networks. The aim in doing so is to gather data based on diverse real-world experience and to share findings to inform how the medical community might reduce operational and financial inefficiencies, improve physician workflows, and adopt a patient-focused approach to improving patient care and outcomes. Further, medical experts could determine how to integrate Watson into the existing health IT systems of the imaging technology companies in the collaborative. For example, integrating with electronic health records and PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication Systems) to deliver cognitive insights to providers within existing clinical workflows.

Lorie Fiber, 2016-06-24