Watson for Medical Images

August 14, 2015 § Leave a comment


IBM’s recent announcement to purchase Merge Healthcare bringing together Watson’s advanced image analytics and cognitive capabilities with Merge’s data set containing 30 billion images is truly exciting from a healthcare perspective. Earlier this year, Watson was learning how to recognize anomalies of images: melanoma, breast cancer, and cardiovascular blockages. At that time, Watson had already ingested 45 million images. http://www.bio-itworld.com/2015/5/5/ibm-announces-watson-genomic-analytics.html With medical images being the largest and fastest growing data source in the healthcare industry (some 400 million procedures a year in the U.S. involve at least one medical image) IBM Watson finds itself in a unique position to address the transformational challenges facing healthcare globally.

IBM plans to leverage the Watson Health Cloud http://www.ibm.com/smarterplanet/us/en/ibmwatson/health/ to analyze and cross-reference medical images against lab results, electronic health records, genomic tests, clinical studies, and other health related data sources, already representing 315 billion data points and 90 million unique records. The Watson Health unit also plans to bring together Merge’s products and solution offerings with existing expertise in cognitive computing, population health, and cloud based healthcare intelligence offerings to:

  • Offer researchers insights to aid clinical trial design, monitoring, and evaluations
  • Help clinicians to efficiently identify options for the diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of a broad array of health conditions such as cancer, stroke, and heart disease
  • Enable providers and payers to integrate and optimize patient engagement in alignment with meaningful use and value based care guidelines
  • Support researchers and healthcare professionals as they advance the emerging discipline of population health, which aims to optimize an individuals care by identifying trends in  larger numbers of people with similar heath conditions

The acquisitions of Explorys, Phytel, and Merge Healthcare combined with IBM Watson present the healthcare and life sciences industries with some very exciting options moving forward! I look forward to posting again on our progress in September.

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