IBM Watson Health announced plans to make a 10-year, $50 million investment in joint research collaborations to advance the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to tackle public health issues. Brigham and Women’s Hospital – the teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School – and Vanderbilt University Medical Center have been selected as joint research partners.
AI Research Focus Areas
The initial areas of study are expected to include the use of AI to improve the utility of electronic health records (EHRs) and claims data to address significant public health issues like patient safety, precision medicine, and health equity. The research will also explore physician and patient user experience and interactions with AI technologies.
Drawing on the respective areas of expertise of each organization, the collaborations will be a joint effort among IBM Watson Health’s newly appointed vice president and chief science officer, Gretchen Purcell Jackson, M.D., Ph.D., David Bates, M.D., M.S., chief of general internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Kevin Johnson, M.D., M.S., chair of the department of biomedical informatics, and Gordon Bernard, MD, executive vice president for research, at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
“Building on the MIT-IBM Watson Lab announced last year, this collaboration is part of IBM Watson Health’s longstanding commitment to scientific research and our belief that working together with the world’s leading institutions is the fastest path to develop, advance, and understand practical solutions that solve some of the world’s biggest health challenges,” said Kyu Rhee, M.D., vice president and chief health officer at IBM Watson Health.
“Today, for example, physicians are spending an average of two hours with their electronic health records and deskwork for every hour of patient care, a phenomenon the American Medical Association says is leading to a steady increase in physician burnout. AI is the most powerful technology we have today to tackle issues like this one, but there is still a great deal of work to be done to demystify the real role of AI in healthcare with practical, proven results and clear-cut best practices. By putting the full force of our clinical and research team together with two of the world’s leading academic medical centers, we will dramatically accelerate the development of real-world AI solutions that improve workflow efficiencies and outcomes.”