Roundup: More than a dozen IBM Watson health-related partnerships

By Aditi Pai
02:50 pm

It’s been almost a year since IBM launched its newest health-focused business unit, called Watson Health and a new cloud offering called the Watson Health Cloud. 

Before IBM formalized Watson Health, the company's well-known super computer brand had already been involved in healthcare for some time, partnering with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City and Welltok. And at the time of launch, Watson Health unveiled three new healthcare partnerships, with Apple, Johnson and Johnson, and Medtronic. But in the past year, IBM has announced a number of new healthcare partnerships.

Here are the IBM Watson Health partnerships that were announced in the past year:

American Heart Association: Earlier this month, IBM teamed up with the American Heart Association (AHA) and Welltok to develop two tools. One will help Welltok's employer customers measure their workplace health culture and the other will help employees' better assess their health using AHA questionnaires.

Under Armour: Under Armour announced last month that it will apply Watson computing to all the data collected in Under Armour’s UA Record app, and come up with personalized coaching and training recommendations. It also could use cognitive computing to recognize foods and do automated food logging.

Nutrino: Nutrition focused startup Nutrino announced it would use Watson’s natural language and deep question and answer features to provide women who are expecting with meal recommendations and nutrition guidance.

Novo Nordisk: In December, Novo Nordisk announced that it was working with IBM Health to develop new tools to improve diabetes care based on data collected from Novo Nordisk devices and treatments.

Manipal Hospitals: A week prior to the Novo Nordisk announcement, India-based Manipal Hospitals announced it would use the Watson for Oncology product that IBM developed with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. The offering analyzes data to help oncologists develop personalized evidence-based treatment options.

Boston Children’s Hopsital: IBM and Boston Children’s announced in November 2015 that Boston Children’s would use Watson to find diagnosis and treatment options for rare pediatric diseases. Their initial research would look into kidney disease.

Triax Technologies, Spare5: IBM partnered with two athlete-focused companies in October 2015. Triax Technologies, which offers a sensor-embedded headband that aims to keep athletes safe, will use Watson to analyze sentiment while the player is in the game. This data will be used to help coaches work with players to improve their safety during a game. Spare5 is using Watson to create an app, called Watson Golf Pro, that will help amateur golfers improve their game.

Teva Pharmaceuticals: Last September, Israel-based Teva said it would use Watson to develop tools that help people with chronic and complex conditions, including asthma, pain, migraine and neurodegenerative diseases.

Mayo Clinic, Epic: The two organizations announced in May that Watson's cognitive computing platform will integrate with Epic's EHR, allowing doctors to use Watson for clinical decision support in the way that some cancer centers already do. The technology could help "develop patient treatment protocols, personalize patient management for chronic conditions, and intelligently assist doctors and nurses by providing relevant evidence from the worldwide body of medical knowledge, putting new insight into the hands of clinical staff," IBM wrote in a release.

Various US cancer institutes: IBM announced that it would collaborate with more than a dozen cancer institutes. IBM will help the institutes derive personal insights from cancer patients' DNA, a process IBM says Watson can reduce from "weeks to minutes". Partnerships include: University of North Carolina, Ann & Robert H Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, BC Cancer Agency, City of Hope, Cleveland Clinic, Duke Cancer Institute, Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center in Omaha, Nebraska, McDonnell Genome Institute at Washington University in St. Louis, New York Genome Center, Sanford Health, University of Kansas Cancer Center, University of Southern California Center for Applied Molecular Medicine, University of Washington Medical Center, and Yale Cancer Center. announced in May that its Patient Insights app, powered by Watson "analyzes patient interactions to tailor future engagement based on personality insights". Eskenazi Health in Indianapolis was trying the app out at the time of announcement.

Talkspace: Also in May, text message-based therapy startup Talkspace announced it would use Watson to help match patients with therapists. The company added that it would use Watson to analyze customers' text messages and attempt to draw insights about their personality that will help match them to the best possible therapist on the platform.

LifeLearn: In October 2014, LifeLearn teamed up with IBM to apply Watson to veterinary medicine. A Watson-powered mobile app, Sofie, helps veterinarians identify potential conditions and practice evidence-based medicine in the treatment of animals. The Aberdeen Veterinary Clinic was already using the software when the partnership was announced.


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