IBM Watson Health has formed a medical imaging collaborative with more than 15 leading healthcare organizations. The goal: To take on some of the most deadly diseases. The collaborative, which includes health systems, academic medical centers, ambulatory radiology providers and imaging technology companies, aims to help doctors address breast, lung, and other cancers; diabetes; eye health; brain disease; and heart disease and related conditions, such as stroke. Watson will mine insights from what IBM calls previously invisible unstructured imaging data and combine it with a broad variety of data from other sources, such as data from electronic health records, radiology and pathology reports, lab results, doctors' progress notes, medical journals, clinical care guidelines and published outcomes studies. As the work of the collaborative evolves, Watson's rationale and insights will evolve, informed by the latest combined thinking of the participating organizations.
Health care executives from IBM Watson and Athenahealth athn debated that question onstage at Fortune's inaugural Brainstorm Health conference Tuesday. In addition to partnering with Celgene celg to better track negative drug side effects, IBM ibm is applying its cognitive computing AI technology to recommend cancer treatment in rural areas in the U.S., India, and China, where there is a dearth of oncologists, said Deborah DiSanzo, general manager for IBM Watson Health. For example, IBM Watson could read a patient's electronic medical record, analyze imagery of the cancer, and even look at gene sequencing of the tumor to figure out the optimal treatment plan for a particular person, she said. "That is the promise of AI--not that we are going to replace people, not that we're going to replace doctors, but that we really augment the intelligence and help," DiSanzo said. Athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush, however, disagreed.
IBM Watson is known for its work in identifying cancer treatments and beating contestants on Jeopardy! But now the computing system has expertise in a new area of research: neuroscience. Watson discovered five genes linked to ALS, sometimes called Lou Gehrig's disease, IBM announced on Wednesday. The tech company worked with researchers at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. The discovery is Watson's first in any type of neuroscience, and suggests that Watson could make discoveries in research of other neurological diseases.
Two years after originally announcing it, Medtronic and IBM Watson have launched their joint platform the Sugar.IQ, a digital diabetes assistant. "It is designed for people who are currently using Guardian Connect; so made for people on multiple daily injections. It is a personal assistant a little bit like Alexa or Siri," Huzefa Neemuchwala, global head of digital health solutions and AI at Medtronic, said in a Facebook live informational session. "It is an intelligent assistant that keeps track of all of your information and has all of your information in one place. Then through Watson technology we use this information to power insights so we can better manage your diabetes so that you can spend more time in range."
A large radiology practice in the Miami area is the test bed for the first real-world application of IBM Watson interpreting medical images. Radiology Associates of South Florida, which has more than 75 physicians and handles about 1 million studies per year, is teaming with Baptist Hospital of Miami to apply Watson-powered "cognitive peer review" to medical imaging in an effort to diagnose aortic stenosis earlier. "We want to identify patients at high risk who may have been missed," said Dr. Ricardo Cury, director of cardiac imaging at Baptist Hospital of Miami and chairman and CEO of Radiology Associates. Watson speeds up the peer review process by assisting cardiologists and sonographers in spotting stenosis cases that otherwise might fall through the cracks, Cury explained at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America in Chicago late last month. Watson looks for variations in practice, based on quality metrics and image analytics, explained Jon DeVries, global offering manager for IBM Watson Health Imaging.