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IBM Watson Health to Invest USD 50 Million for Advancing AI in Healthcare

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 01 Mar 2019
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Image: IBM Watson Health plans to invest USD 50 million over a 10-year period to advance the science of artificial intelligence (Photo courtesy of iStock).
Image: IBM Watson Health plans to invest USD 50 million over a 10-year period to advance the science of artificial intelligence (Photo courtesy of iStock).
IBM Watson Health (Armonk, NY, USA) plans to invest USD 50 million in joint research collaborations with Brigham and Women’s Hospital — the teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School — and Vanderbilt University Medical Center over a 10-year period to advance the science of artificial intelligence (AI) and its application to major public health issues.

The scientific collaborations will focus on critical health problems that are ideally suited for AI solutions. Initial areas of study are expected to include the use of AI to improve the utility of electronic health records (EHRs) and claims data to address significant public health issues like patient safety, precision medicine and health equity. The research will also explore physician and patient user experience and interactions with AI technologies.

“Building on the MIT-IBM Watson Lab announced last year, this collaboration is part of IBM Watson Health’s longstanding commitment to scientific research and our belief that working together with the world’s leading institutions is the fastest path to develop, advance, and understand practical solutions that solve some of the world’s biggest health challenges,” said Kyu Rhee, MD, vice president and chief health officer at IBM Watson Health. “Today, for example, physicians are spending an average of two hours with their electronic health records and deskwork for every hour of patient care, a phenomenon the American Medical Association says is leading to a steady increase in physician burnout. AI is the most powerful technology we have today to tackle issues like this one, but there is still a great deal of work to be done to demystify the real role of AI in healthcare with practical, proven results and clear-cut best practices. By putting the full force of our clinical and research team together with two of the world’s leading academic medical centers, we will dramatically accelerate the development of real-world AI solutions that improve workflow efficiencies and outcomes.”

“We all know that the future of health belongs to AI but, today, health around the globe is siloed and not actionable making timely insights difficult to obtain,” said David Bates, MD, MS, chief of general internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Through AI, we have an opportunity to do better and our hope is to find new ways through science and partnerships with industry leaders like Watson Health to unlock the full potential of AI to improve the utility of the EHR and claims data to address major public health issues like patient safety.”

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