IBM Opens Watson Health HQ, Expands Watson Health Cloud

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2015-09-10 Print this article Print
IBM Watson Health HQ

"Watson Health is driving a new era of technology-driven health, enabling entrepreneurs and industry leaders to address diverse needs, spanning the earliest stages of research all the way through to clinical care and population health through to consumer wellness," Rhodin said. "The variety of new partners and use cases underscores the flexibility and scalability of the IBM Watson Health Cloud to help leaders rapidly advance the state of the art in health and wellness. Further, IBM Watson Health is building for scale, with partners, offerings and now a worldwide headquarters designed to help global organizations meet the world's pressing health needs."

The Watson Health headquarters opening ceremony featured demonstrations by health ecosystem partners Best Doctors, Modernizing Medicine, Pathway Genomics, Socrates and Welltok, which showed how Watson is being deployed in solutions such as enabling cost-effective second opinion services, helping optimize physician practice patterns and supporting consumers' ability to make informed medical choices.

IBM Watson Health has achieved significant market momentum since it was introduced five months ago. New collaborations include Boston Children's Hospital (BCH), which has been Watson Health's foundational pediatrics partner, building on an existing relationship between the two entities. IBM will integrate Watson's deep and iterative question-and-answer capability to enhance and scale the OPENPediatrics initiative, a BCH initiative to bring life-saving medical knowledge to pediatric caregivers worldwide.

Moving forward, BCH and IBM will jointly develop solutions for commercialization, initially pursuing applications in personalized medicine, heart health and critical care with the potential to leverage Watson Genomic Analytics to assist researchers and clinicians in the treatment of rare pediatric disease; apply Watson's image analytics capabilities with the intent to help clinicians improve diagnoses for children facing heart health conditions; and apply streaming analytics to data from patients on ventilation systems, with the intent to help medical professionals predict patient decline before it occurs, IBM said.

Columbia University Medical Center's departments of Pathology & Cell Biology and Systems Biology will collaborate with IBM to test using Watson to help oncologists in the Columbia Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center translate DNA insights into personalized treatment options for patients. Columbia is the sixteenth cancer center to test the use of Watson Genomic Analytics to bring precision medicine to patients.

In addition, Sage Bionetworks' Open Biomedical Research Platform will be powered by the IBM Watson Health Cloud, as the IBM Watson Health Cloud is the platform of choice for Sage to aggregate, store, curate and analyze data collected via apps using ResearchKit. Sage currently has active ResearchKit projects in breast cancer and Parkinson's disease.

"Successful biomedical research requires active participation and data sharing across a wide variety of stakeholders," said Stephen H. Friend, MD, Ph.D., president, co-founder and director of Sage Bionetworks, in a statement. "The IBM Watson Health Cloud can help us break down barriers that hamper progress in research and accelerate discovery through open collaboration by providing broadly accessible storage with large capacity."

And Teva Pharmaceuticals announced that IBM Watson Health Cloud will serve as Teva's technology platform of choice to build solutions to help millions of individuals with complex and chronic conditions such as asthma, pain and neurodegenerative diseases. Teva expects to introduce its first e-health solution in 2016.

"The details provided by IBM partners and customers on their Watson-related efforts bolster IBM's original decision to focus the platform on the health care and medical industries," Pund-IT's King said. "The fact is that Watson's ability to simplify and ease access to massive volumes of complex information seems to be tailor-made for the health care sector. The list of projects the platform is currently being used for corroborates that point."



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