Healthcare chronology 1992 - 2013

Doctors at Sutter General Hospital in Sacramento use a robotic arm developed by Integrated Surgical Systems Inc. and IBM to perform a hip replacement on its first human patient. This device, known as ROBODOC, is the first robotic device approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum [German Cancer Research Center] uses an IBM SP system to run chemistry codes and imaging applications to help scientists discover, explore, test, and use new drugs to combat cancer.

The University of Chicago and the Argonne National Laboratory use the IBM RS/6000 Scalable POWERparallel Systems (SP) to advance the field of medical imaging by helping physicians make better use of x-ray, CT scan and mammogram images.

IBM reports that scientists from IBM's Zurich Research Laboratory and the University of Basel find a new approach for using tiny biochemical "machines" made of silicon to detect defects in DNA, which could eventually lead to new medical treatments.

IBM and the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory agree to research and develop advanced computer architectures to increase the understanding of diseases. At the heart of the agreement is IBM's Blue Gene research project, which combines advanced protein science with IBM's next-generation cellular architecture supercomputer design.

Oxford University joins with IBM and the U.K. government to build a sophisticated computing Grid for early screening and diagnosis of breast cancer, and to provide medical professionals with more information to help treat the disease. The project, which represents an investment of approximately $6 million jointly by IBM and the United Kingdom, is named "Diamond" by Oxford researchers and is part of the government's eScience initiative.

IBM announces a major health care initiative to help providers and payers manage costs, reduce medical errors and deliver better patient care. The initiative will infuse an estimated $250 million of investments into IBM's health care business over the next three years and includes groundbreaking collaborations with Duke University Health System and the Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, along with the formation of the IBM Center for Healthcare Management and the creation of the IBM Research Healthcare and Life Sciences Institute.

Mayo Clinic and IBM announce a broad collaboration to accelerate advances in patient care and research with an aggressive set of technology initiatives. The collaboration will focus on new techniques to harness patient data to improve diagnoses, deep computing power to model diseases to find cures, and new devices to access information to transform how patients and physicians interact, leading to more individualized care. Under the collaboration, Mayo Clinic will be the first medical institution to tap the power of IBM's Blue Gene supercomputer.

IBM reports that scientists at AIST, a leading Japanese research laboratory, will use an IBM BlueGene/L supercomputer to advance their research in proteins, potentially accelerating breakthroughs in drug design. Expected to be installed in February 2005, the BlueGene/L system will consist of four racks, with a peak processing speed of 22.8 trillion calculations per second (22.8 teraflops). BlueGene/L will be 24 times more powerful and use a fraction of the floor space compared to the current computer systems installed at the AIST's Computational Biology Research Center.

IBM and more than 20 major worldwide public health institutions, including the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, announce on May 15, the Global Pandemic Initiative, a collaborative effort to help stem the spread of infectious diseases.

A cancer institute in the Czech Republic implements a first-of-its-kind IBM technology solution that integrates pharmacy and medical information systems to eliminate the chance that patients could receive the wrong chemotherapy drug or dosage. The solution, which uses radio frequency identification, or RFID tags, gives the institute the ability to electronically confirm at a patient's bedside that the medication being administered is exactly what the doctor ordered.

A team of international students from IBM's internship program, Extreme Blue, works with the pharmaceutical company Novartis on researching and refining proposed solutions to the long-standing problem of medicine stock-outs in Africa. The final simple solution for tracking and managing supplies of anti-malarial drugs uses a combination of mobile phones, SMS technologies and intuitive websites. The following year, members of IBM, Novartis, the mobile phone carrier Vodafone and the Roll Back Malaria Partnership launch a five-month pilot called "SMS for Life" that uses simple text messaging and cloud computing to help dispensaries avoid running out of vital stock. The pilot covers 226 villages in different geographic locations across Tanzania.

Mexico City finds itself as an epicenter of the H1N1 flu pandemic with 6000 to 7000 confirmed cases. The government approaches IBM in the hopes that IBM's Spatiotemporal Epidemiological Modeler (STEM) and Public Health Information Affinity Domain (PHIAD) software applications can help them calculate the spread of the disease. In a no-cost collaborative effort with the Government of the Federal District (GDF), IBM leads workshops for the GDF on STEM and PHIAD. After officials to take preventive steps to close schools and restaurants for 7 to 9 days, IBM works with the GDF to measure the impact. The study shows that their policies helped lower transmission by 22 percent.

IBM joins with health insurer WellPoint Inc. and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center to announce two Watson computer-based applications -- one to help diagnose and treat lung cancer and one to help manage health insurance decisions and claims. Both applications take advantage of the speed, language skills and analytical capabilities of IBM's Watson technology, which famously defeated the best "Jeopardy!" television game show champions in 2011.

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