Watson Health

Cognitive Health Care: We Have Liftoff

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It’s hard to believe it’s only been two short years since Watson Health first launched at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference. IBM understood the massive potential to bring the power of cognitive computing to healthcare in a meaningful way and it already has – empowering researchers, supporting clinicians bringing the power of precision medicine directly to patients, and helping to improve chronic disease management.

Cognitive systems – or augmented intelligence — have already helped reinvent how experts and clinicians conduct research, provide treatment recommendations, and monitor patients. Watson Health proves that the Cognitive Era in health is real: it has entered mainstream life and care, it lives and will continue to live, on the cloud, and it may change everything about the way we approach health.

The healthcare delivery system as it stands is not sustainable, and most of us here at HIMSS believe that we will continue to move towards a value-based model of delivery and payment. As we do so, IBM believes that cognitive computing can have a tremendous impact on organizations’ ability to make more informed decisions and understand precisely what their organization could address to influence quality care and outcomes in a value-based care system.

As we move forward in cognitive computing critical decisions will be made to ensure scaling, security, reliability and privacy. And many of those decisions will focus on three key areas: cloud, data and augmented intelligence.

Businesses and institutions need hybrid cloud architectures, ready for complex, regulated environments and built for advanced security. One of the key ways that Watson Health helps our clients is by offering the benefits of the IBM cloud, by making it healthcare ready. Our data is verified and validated within a Quality Management System. It’s privacy and security enabled and GxP compatible, making it designed specifically for our partners to innovate and create impactful solutions that will help change healthcare delivery.

We think data at scale is also crucial for prescriptive and preventive care. Healthcare enterprises must decide what their data goals are, where they want to get their data, and with whom they want to share it. And, critically for healthcare enterprises, it must be available at scale. These requirements are why we have created the Watson Health platform the way we have.

Watson Health already has a vast trove of data, including 100 million electronic health records, 30 billion images, 26 million PubMed and other research abstracts. We believe it to be the largest non-governmental data set available. This week, we made that scale even larger when we expanded the Watson Health global medical imaging collaborative to 24 members.

Harnessing the data can create real value in the Cognitive Era, when leveraged with the broader healthcare ecosystem in mind. We announced a new relationship with the Central New York Care Collaborative to unlock insights obscured in data and help Central New York’s Medicaid patient population at scale.

The Central New York Care Collaborative will use Watson to create the nation’s first population health platform that connects an entire region – more than 2,000 care providers serving citizens of Central New York. This will connect the entire ecosystem supporting a vulnerable aging population, from traditional healthcare providers to community support organizations to keep people healthier and improve lives.

Business and society leaders understand where we are in history – technological change and global integration are bringing profound challenges. We worry about the future of work, growing inequality, threats to privacy, sustainability, and security.

Healthcare can lead as we head into this new era, using technology, but also wisdom, values, and the kind of commitment to social responsibility that is a hallmark of so many visionaries in the healthcare industry.

Now, more than ever, we need a healthcare system to be more productive and more personalized, more secure, and less wasteful. Today and in the future, IBM is applying cloud and cognitive solutions to meet all of these goals. Our moonshot may be a long way from its landing spot, but together, we are already on an exciting journey.

General Manager, IBM Watson Health

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