IBM has formed a Watson Health medical imaging collaborative, a global initiative comprised of leading health systems, academic medical centers, ambulatory radiology providers and imaging technology companies.
The collaborative aims to bring cognitive imaging into daily practice to help doctors address breast, lung, and other cancers; diabetes; eye health; brain disease; and heart disease and related conditions, such as stroke.
Foundational members for the collaborative include: Agfa HealthCare; Anne Arundel Medical Center; Baptist Health South Florida; Eastern Virginia Medical School; Hologic, Inc.; ifa systems AG; inoveon; Radiology Associates of South Florida; Sentara Healthcare; Sheridan Healthcare; Topcon; UC San Diego Health; University of Miami Health System; University of Vermont Health Network; and vRad, a MEDNAX company, as well as Merge Healthcare, an IBM company.
Watson’s commercially available cognitive computing 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.
Members of the collaborative plan to put Watson to work to extract insights from previously “invisible” unstructured imaging data and combine that with a broad variety of data from other sources.
In doing so, the efforts may help physicians make personalized care decisions relevant to a specific patient while building a body of knowledge to benefit broader patient populations. This information may include data from electronic health records, radiology and pathology reports, lab results, doctors’ progress notes, medical journals, clinical care guidelines and published outcomes studies.
Initial plans include training Watson and evaluating potential new offerings in a variety of patient care environments ranging from stand-alone ambulatory settings to integrated health delivery networks. The aim in doing so is to gather data based on diverse real-world experience and to share findings to inform how the medical community might reduce operational and financial inefficiencies, improve physician workflows, and adopt a patient-focused approach to improving patient care and outcomes.
“With an ability to draw insights from massive volumes of integrated structured and unstructured data sources, cognitive computing could transform how clinicians diagnose, treat and monitor patients,” said Anne Le Grand, vice president of Imaging for Watson Health. “Through IBMs medical imaging collaborative, Watson may create opportunities for radiologists to extract greater insights and value from imaging data while better managing costs.”