IBM, Novo Nordisk Team on Watson-Based Diabetes Care Solution

IBM has teamed up with diabetes care leader Novo Nordisk to create new solutions based on IBM's Watson cognitive computing technology.

IBM Watson Health

Novo Nordisk and IBM’s Watson Health unit announced that the two organizations will work together to create diabetes care solutions built on the Watson Health Cloud.

The agreement combines Novo Nordisk’s deep understanding of diabetes with IBM’s strength in cognitive computing based on its Watson cognitive system. The companies will explore possibilities for improved diabetes care via insights from real-time, real world evidence of Novo Nordisk diabetes treatments and devices. By harnessing the potential of the Watson Health Cloud, Novo Nordisk aims to further advance its offerings to people living with diabetes and their healthcare professionals.

“IBM is working with Novo Nordisk, a global leader in diabetes, to help the company create new e-health solutions on the Watson Health Cloud — accessing cognitive computing to help personalize care,” said Deborah DiSanzo, general manager of IBM Watson Health, in a statement.

The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimates that 415 million people have diabetes today – a figure that IDF estimates could rise to 642 million by 2040. Complications from poorly managed diabetes include cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, nerve damage, and blindness. Diabetes and its complications account for 12 percent of global health expenditure or about $673 billion dollars annually.

“Working with ambitious partners like IBM Watson Health helps us explore the opportunities presented by an increasingly digitalized healthcare system,” said Riis, executive vice president of Novo Nordisk, in a statement. “We aim to leverage our combined capabilities to improve the lives of people with diabetes by making the management of the condition more simple, effective and measurable.”

The IBM Watson cognitive computing platform, delivered through the cloud, processes vast amounts of big data to uncover patterns and insights, understands complex questions posed in natural language, proposes evidence-based answers, and learns from each interaction. The Watson Health Cloud is a development platform for health and wellness solutions.

In other healthcare-related news, Nutrino and IBM announced a new IBM Watson-powered app to provide nutrition recommendations for expectant mothers.

The new Nutrino App Powered by Watson (Nutrino App) provides expectant mothers with real-time science-based, personalized and contextual nutrition advice. The Nutrino App combines Nutrino’s nutrition insights platform with Watson’s natural language capability and deep question and answer capability to offer personalized meal recommendations and nutritional support.

The Nutrino App is available for download from the Apple App Store and will be available later on Android. The pregnancy service costs $15 for the full 42 weeks.

“Healthy eating — a challenge at any point in our lives — becomes that much more daunting during pregnancy, when a mom-to-be’s nutritional needs can fluctuate week to week,” said Yaron Hadad, PhD., co-founder and chief science officer at Nutrino, in a statement. “The Nutrino App Powered by Watson helps women navigate through a trove of available nutrition information and offers recommendations responsive to a woman’s changing needs throughout her pregnancy.”

The National Institutes of Health estimate that in the U.S. nearly four million women have babies each year. According to a 2014 study published in the journal Maternal Child Health, in general women are not receiving adequate nutrition education during pregnancy.