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Health, research, discovery and technology have been linked inextricably for centuries. The good news is that many of humanity’s greatest thinkers have dedicated themselves to enhancing and preserving our lives. The challenging reality is that even our most qualified experts can no longer keep pace with the overwhelming volume and complexity of emerging health research.
Disconnects between massive amounts of health-related data and our ability to transform it into actionable information often lead to tragic results for individuals and populations who are unable to benefit even from existing diagnostics and treatments. But by applying augmented intelligence through cognitive systems in service to finding the best treatments at the right time, IBM is helping to reverse the trend of needless suffering and mortality.
IBM is harnessing data and designing analytics systems to enhance the ability of health practitioners and public administrators to identify, engage and assist at-risk populations for diseases and conditions such as cancer, obesity, cardiovascular disease and nutrition poverty. With the participation of volunteers around the world, IBM also provides — free of charge — the massive computing power that humanitarian researchers need to find cures for disease and investigate solutions to protect and preserve healthy environments. And finally, IBM is a global leader in developing and providing employee health initiatives.
IBM Health Corps
IBM launched IBM Health Corps at the 2016 World Health Care Congress. This global pro bono incubator partners with health organizations to address some of the most challenging health disparities by exploring big ideas in technology for public and population health. With dedicated teams of experts on the ground for three-week engagements, IBM Health Corps makes use of IBM’s expertise in cognitive, analytics, data science and design to help partner organizations expand health access and services, and improve health systems and outcomes.
In August 2016, the program announced its first five projects. Engagements in 2016 included:
World Community Grid
IBM World Community Grid® enables “citizen scientists” from around the world to contribute their unused computer power in service to humanitarian research. Medical, climate and other researchers use the power of the World Community Grid “virtual supercomputer” to shorten the time-to-results of data-intensive computing projects by weeks, months or even years. Standout projects in 2016 included:
World Community Grid provided the equivalent of 167,000 years of computing time in 2016, performing 431 million scientific calculations. Since the program’s inception, more than 728,000 volunteers have contributed unused computing time from 3.3 million devices in service to 28 humanitarian research projects. The program has provided 1.4 million years of computing time, valued at more than $500 million. Research enabled by World Community Grid has provided the basis of more than 50 peer-reviewed scientific articles.
World Community Grid attracted five new corporate partners in 2016, and beat out MTV and Tumblr to win the 2016 People’s Voice Webby Award for Corporate Social Responsibility.
Service organizations, such as settlement houses, that provide vital support for low-income families and individuals often strain to supply the program documentation required to maintain public and private financing. IBM SafetyNet is helping to solve that problem by helping nonprofits automate the collection and management of program data — freeing social services personnel to help their clients more effectively. The data management solution is built on IBM’s Social Enterprise and Smarter Care Curam platform, and designed to help standardize and centralize contract, program, and client data.
Each selected organization receives a grant valued at $300,000 that includes access to the cloud-based IBM SafetyNet application, training, 16 weeks of consulting services to configure the system, and ongoing support. In 2016, IBM SafetyNet:
Since the program’s inception, 10 grants valued at $3 million have been awarded to help nonprofits better serve 150,000 low-income clients.
IBM Impact Grants bring the power of IBM capabilities to our communities, to transform organizations and help them tackle society’s toughest challenges. Around the world, Impact Grants deliver strategically designed pro bono consulting and integrated software solutions, with particular emphasis on cloud, mobile, analytics and cognitive. Over the past seven years, 5,000 IBM consultants have delivered 2,200 Impact Grants, worth $65 million, to 1,500 nonprofit organizations in 60 countries. These grants equip organizations — especially those in health, education, disaster, jobs, and youth empowerment — to make profound changes for good. Selected recipients in 2016 included: