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Medical Imaging Collaborative Aims to Bring Cognitive Computing to Radiology

June 24, 2016
by Heather Landi
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A collaborative of 16 health systems, academic medical centers, ambulatory radiology providers and imaging technology vendors formed by IBM Watson aims to bring cognitive imaging into daily practice.

Members of the Watson health medical imaging collaborative plan to use IBM Watson to extract insights from unstructured imaging data and combine that with data from other sources. These efforts may help physicians make personalized care decisions relevant to a specific patient while building a body of knowledge to benefit broader patient populations. This information may include data from an electronic health record, radiology and pathology reports, lab results, doctors’ progress notes, medical journals, clinical care guidelines and published outcomes studies, among other sources, according to an IBM press release.

The overall goal is to use cognitive imaging in day-to-day practice to help physicians address breast, lung and other cancers, diabetes, eye health, brain disease and heart disease and related conditions, such as stroke.

Foundational members for the collaborative include Agfa Healthcare, Anne Arundel Medical Center, Baptist Health South Florida, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Hologic, Inc., 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 and vRad, a Mednax company as well as Merge Healthcare, an IBM company.

Officials at Sheridan Healthcare, the physician services division of AMSURG, said Sheridan will serve as a leading clinical partner in the IBM medical imaging collaborative, which hopes to leverage Watson’s unique capabilities to extract greater insights and value from imaging data and improve cost management.

“Sheridan is committed to constantly driving quality improvement,” Maria Rodriguez, M.D., Sheridan’s senior vice president of radiology services, said in a statement. Adding IBM Watson’s cognitive computing capabilities to our own radiology quality initiatives is really moving the needle on further improving patient care in this arena.”

“At a time when powerful insights come at the intersection of diverse data sets, medical images remain largely disconnected from mainstream health information,” Anne Le Grand, vice president of Imaging for IBM Watson Health, said. “Working together in new ways across the healthcare ecosystem, the IBM Watson Health medical imaging collaborative aims to address this and other challenges that stand in the way of realizing the true value of imaging in health care. We’re honored that Sheridan Healthcare is participating in this endeavor with so many other esteemed organizations worldwide.”

Members of the collaborative are expected to team with Watson Health cognitive computing experts to train Watson on cardiovascular disease, eye health and other conditions using data provided by the members of the collaborative or from population-based disease registries, which house millions of de-identified cases from around the world. To help create new solutions powered by Watson, the industry members of the collaborative could integrate Watson into their workflow systems or image management software.

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