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Artificial Intelligence Key in IBM Watson Health Partnerships

IBM Watson Health partners with MedyMatch and IDx to bring healthcare organizations intelligent imaging solutions.

Source: Thinkstock

- IBM Watson Health announced two new partnerships today with MedyMatch Technology and IDx to use its artificial intelligence technology to improve patient care.

MedyMatch and IBM Watson Health are collaborating to bring MedyMatch’s artificial intelligence (AI) based clinical decision support application to imaging experts in emergency rooms and other acute care settings. The partnership will assist doctors in identifying intracranial bleeding from head trauma or stroke.  

IBM Watson Health’s Imaging group will distribute MedyMatch’s brain bleed detection application for widespread usage. The two companies will also continue to develop interoperability between the applications and IBM Watson Health Imaging’s offerings.

The MedyMatch algorithm uses deep learning, machine vision, patient data, and clinical insights to automatically highlight regions of interest to make them more visible to the diagnosing physician. The solution also aims to fit in with physicians’ regular workflow, allowing them to make faster and more accurate diagnoses.

"The implementation of AI-based computer aided detection and clinical decision support tools to medicine in general, and to the emergency department, in particular, has the potential to increase the speed, accuracy, and efficiency of patient management – with the potential to ultimately reduce diagnostic errors and improving clinical outcomes," Massachusetts General Hospital Director of Emergency Radiology Michael Lev, M.D. said in a statement.  

"MedyMatch is ideally positioned to leverage this technology, and their willingness to collaborate with industry partners reflects their awareness of, and sensitivity to, the complexities of patient assessment in the acute care setting,” said Lev, who is also professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School. “The company's first algorithms - CT detection of intracranial bleeds - represents the confluence of physician know-how and artificial intelligence clinical support."

Many healthcare organizations are looking to AI solutions to improve diagnosis of many different serious conditions.

Boston Children’s Hospital entered a similar collaboration late last year with GE Health, using advanced imaging technology to help physicians better detect and diagnose brain abnormalities in children.

IBM Watson Health also announced a collaboration with IDx to use cognitive applications to improve eye health. The main goal of this alliance is to help primary care providers, hospitals, health systems, and integrated delivery networks deliver value-based care to patients with diabetic retinopathy and other serious eye conditions (i.e. glaucoma and macular degeneration).

Similar to MedyMatch, IDx is leveraging IBM’s global reach to make its ophthalmic image analysis work more widely available. IBM Watson Health will distribute the automated diabetic retinopathy screening solution IDxDR.

"Over the past decades, productivity in healthcare has not kept pace with other sectors,” IDx Founder and President Dr. Michael Abramoff said in a statement. “Patients and providers worldwide are paying the price. Our mission at IDx has always been to transform the quality, accessibility, and affordability of global healthcare through the automation of medical screening to support physicians' diagnoses. We are incredibly pleased to partner with IBM Watson Health, which shares this vision, and believe they will help us scale the IDx mission to its fullest potential."

IBM Watson Health Imaging Vice President Anne Le Grand explained that IDxDR brings a secure server-based screening technology to Watson that prioritizes patient safety.

IBM Watson Health is partnered with many healthcare organizations and health IT vendors to make intelligent infrastructure solutions more readily available to organizations looking to improve patient care with more advanced technology.

Smaller vendors with intelligent solutions focusing in specific medical areas or diseases are also looking to IBM Watson to help make their solutions more accessible to healthcare organizations.