• IBM Watson Health Invests in Research Collaborations with Leading Medicaal Centers to Advance the Application of AI to Health

    • February 15, 2019
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    IBM Watson Health, today announced plans to make a 10-year, $50 million investment in research collaborations with two separate academic centers – Brigham and Women’s Hospital, which is a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, and Vanderbilt University Medical Center – to advance the science of artificial intelligence (AI) and its application to major public health issues.

    The scientific collaborations with each institution will focus on critical health problems that are ideally suited for AI solutions. Initial areas of study are expected to include the use of AI to improve the utility of electronic health records (EHRs)[1] and claims data[2] to address significant public health issues like patient safety[3], precision medicine[4] and health equity[5]. The research will also explore physician and patient user experience and interactions with AI technologies.

    “Building on the MIT-IBM Watson Lab announced last year, this collaboration will include contributions from IBM Watson Health’s longstanding commitment to scientific research and our belief that working together with the world’s leading institutions is the fastest path to develop, advance, and understand practical solutions that solve some of the world’s biggest health challenges,” said Kyu Rhee, M.D., M.P.P., vice president and chief health officer at IBM Watson Health. “Today, for example, physicians are spending an average of two hours with their electronic health records and deskwork for every hour of patient care,[6] a phenomenon the American Medical Association says is leading to a steady increase in physician burnout.[7] AI is the most powerful technology we have today to tackle issues like this one, but there is still a great deal of work to be done to demystify the real role of AI in healthcare with practical, proven results and clear-cut best practices. By putting the full force of our clinical[8] and research team[9] together with two of the world’s leading academic medical centers, we will dramatically accelerate the development of real-world AI solutions that improve workflow efficiencies and outcomes.”

    Drawing on the respective areas of expertise from each organization, the collaborations will be a joint effort among IBM Watson Health’s newly appointed vice president and chief science officer, Gretchen Purcell Jackson, M.D., Ph.D., David Bates, M.D., M.S., chief of general internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, Kevin Johnson, M.D., M.S., chair of the department of biomedical informatics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and Gordon Bernard, M.D., executive vice president for research, at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

    “IBM Watson Health has had a long history of leading in scientific research,” said Jackson. “These collaborations give our scientists at IBM Watson Health the opportunity to work with some of the best health informatics researchers in the world to advance the field in the areas of artificial intelligence, clinical decision support, and implementation science. Medical data is expected to double every 73 days by 2020[10]. As a practicing surgeon, I often had to make critical decisions about children’s lives without time to dig for information buried in electronic health records or sift through thousands of studies in the literature. Our collaborative research will unlock new insights that affect broad health stakeholders: from providers, payers, governments, and life science companies to ultimately the most important stakeholder, patients, and seek to improve health around the globe.”

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