27309735162_107454a6d9_kIBM this week announced it has created a Watson Health medical imaging collaborative, a global initiative including more than fifteen leading health care entities such as academic medical centers, ambulatory radiology providers and imaging technology companies.

The collaborative aims to bring cognitive imaging into daily practice to help doctors address cancers, diabetes, eye, brain and heart diseases.

Members of the collaborative intend to put Watson to work to extract insights from previously ‘invisible’ unstructured imaging data and combine that with a variety of data from other sources.

In doing so, the efforts may help doctors make personalised care decisions relevant to a specific patient while building a body of knowledge to benefit the 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 studies.

26310898063_ab4cbfbca7_kInitial plans include training Watson in a variety of patient care environments ranging from stand-alone ambulatory settings to integrated health delivery networks. The aim is to gather data based on diverse real-world experiences 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 care.

Nadim Michel Daher, a medical imaging and informatics analyst for Frost & Sullivan says:

“There is strong potential for systems like Watson to help to make radiologists more productive, diagnoses more accurate, decisions more sound, and costs more manageable.”

Indeed, Watson Health aims to help healthcare professionals improve care and reduce waste by enabling enhanced use of medical imaging data and providing cognitive services that support a doctor’s ability to make tailored medical recommendations personalised to each patient’s unique needs.

26819081935_b68d59f0a2_kAnne Le Grand, who recently joined IBM as vice president of Imaging for Watson Health, says:

“With the 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,”

Among the members for the collaborative are Agfa HealthCare, Anne Arundel Medical Center, Baptist Health South Florida, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Hologic, 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, vRad, and Merge Healthcare. As the work of the collaborative evolves Watson’s rationale and insights will evolve, informed by the latest combined wisdom of these organisations.

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Pictures courtesy of IBM