Markham ON & London ON – 20 Oct 2016: IBM (NYSE: IBM) and the Cardiac Arrhythmia Network of Canada (CANet), a Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) funded national network dedicated to arrhythmia research and development, are joining forces to launch Heart-SIGN (System for Information Gathering and Networking), a cloud-based analytics platform designed to manage, monitor, store, correlate and analyze data generated from all CANet research projects.

CANet will use IBM BigInsights on Cloud and Watson Analytics to build an informatics platform to help spark new ideas and share research related to heart rhythm disturbances. Findings will be derived from and used within its network of more than 100 healthcare professionals, patients, academia, government, and industry experts.

By incorporating IBM’s advanced predictive analytics and cognitive capabilities, Heart-SIGN will act as a data resource for arrhythmia research and clinical practice, and provide a platform for research-based and clinical initiatives to help researchers identify specific needs, track patients through the system, and measure outcomes.

In addition, the platform will offer researchers evidence-based recommended starting points for analysis, enable interaction in natural language, and visualize results on a single, dynamic interface to gain further insight into the data.

“This important collaboration with IBM will allow CANet to integrate our network research strengths and IBM’s analytic strengths to enhance our network’s ability to achieve our strategic goals,” said Dr. Anthony Tang, scientific director and CEO of CANet.

As part of a rigorous strategic planning process over the next three years, CANet will be focusing on three of the major challenges in cardiovascular research – diagnosis, recognition, and treatment.

The platform, with its broad dataset and analytical capabilities, is designed to help researchers harness the vast information available and, within minutes, uncover answers to questions that previously might have taken years to discover. The goal of this collaborative initiative is to help researchers uncover insights that can help them achieve faster and more cohesive clinical outcomes.

“Today, healthcare research is overwhelmed by the sheer volume of complex, big data,” said Nathalie Le Prohon, vice president of IBM’s healthcare industry in Canada. “The ability for researchers and providers to utilize cognitive tools helps them to spend less time sifting through data and more time gaining insights and delivering transformation where we need it the most.”

In Canada, millions of people experience irregular heart rhythms, otherwise known as arrhythmias. The condition dramatically affects productivity and quality of life, and can cause sudden cardiac death, taking the lives of approximately 40,000 Canadians per year1. Other disorders which stem from the condition include atrial fibrillation, currently affecting 350,000 Canadians2, and syncope, known to cause a loss of consciousness.

About IBM Watson Health
Watson is the first commercially available cognitive computing capability representing a new era in computing. The system, delivered through the cloud, analyzes high volumes of data, understands complex questions posed in natural language, and proposes evidence-based answers. Watson continuously learns, gaining in value and knowledge over time, from previous interactions. In April 2015, the company launched IBM Watson Health and the Watson Health Cloud platform. The new unit will help improve the ability of doctors, researchers and insurers to innovate by surfacing insights from the massive amount of personal health data being created and shared daily. The Watson Health Cloud can mask individual identities and allow this information to be shared and combined with a dynamic and constantly growing aggregated view of clinical, research and social health data. For more information on IBM Watson, visit: ibm.com/watson. For more information on IBM Watson Health, visit: ibm.com/watsonhealth

About IBM
IBM is one of Canada’s top ten private R&D investors, and in 2015 contributed more than $477 million to Canadian research activities. IBM has a unique approach to collaboration that provides academic researchers, small and large businesses, start-ups and developers with business strategies and computing tools they need to innovate. Areas of focus include health, agile computing, water, energy, cities, mining, advanced manufacturing, digital media and cybersecurity. IBM and its partners have in the past three years helped create more than 250 high-value jobs and launch more than three dozen new businesses. Please visit http://www.ibm.com/ibm/ca/en/canadian-innovation.html

About IBM BigInsights on Cloud
IBM BigInsights on Cloud is an industry standard Hadoop offering that combines the best of open source software with enterprise-grade capabilities. It helps organizations to cost effectively manage and analyze big data – the volume and variety of data that customers and businesses create and collect every day. http://ibm.co/1S4KwHF

About Cardiac Arrhythmia Network of Canada
The Cardiac Arrhythmia Network of Canada (CANet) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to transforming Canada’s arrhythmia health care through integrated trans-disciplinary research and development. The network’s vision is access for all Canadians to early detection, effective prevention, efficient and timely treatment of arrhythmia and related conditions, through a transformed, patient-driven care. CANet is funded by the federal government’s Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE), Canada’s flagship science and technology program. http://canet-nce.ca

Media Contacts:
Jinna Kim
IBM
(905) 316-2179
jinnak@ca.ibm.com

Fiona Hill-Hinrichs
Cardiac Arrhythmia Network of Canada
(519) 661-2111 ext: 81353
fhill-hinrichs@canet-nce.ca

1 CANet: Profile, 2016. http://canet-nce.ca/canet-profile

2 CANet: Atrial Fibrillation, 2016. http://canet-nce.ca/atrial-fibrillation