NEW ORLEANS — The American Diabetes Association and IBM Watson Health will partner on a long-term collaboration to bring together the cognitive computing power of Watson and the ADA’s vast clinical and research data.
Kevin L. Hagan, ADA CEO, said the ADA and IBM Watson Health will work to build a first-of-its-kind diabetes advisor for patients and caregivers, as well as develop Watson-powered solutions to optimize clinical, research and lifestyle decisions.
“The goal of this endeavor is to develop and introduce cognitive technologies that support clinicians, researchers and people living with diabetes so that we can accelerate discoveries, personalize treatment and care, and improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes,” Hagan said while announcing the partnership. “We also see potential to address social determinants of health.”
Unlike traditional computing systems that are programmed, systems like IBM Watson learn at scale, explained IBM General Manager David Kenny. The technology, he said, understands with meaning and “reasons with a purpose.
“[These systems] increasingly interact with us in natural human ways,” Kenny said during the presentation. “Our goal for Watson is to open up our platforms for researchers, inventors and entrepreneurs ... to create new products that transform our lives.
“As the son and grandson of individuals with diabetes, I am counting on this,” Kenny said.
As part of the collaboration, Watson will be trained to understand diabetes data with the goal to identify potential risk factors and create evidence-based, confidence-ranked recommendations for a range of health decisions. New offerings developed through the collaboration may also draw on data and insights from IBM's Watson Health Cloud and will leverage Watson’s capabilities, such as deep Q&A, natural language processing, engagement advisor, similarity analytics, predictive analytics and personality insights.
“At IBM, we realize that finding a way to stem — perhaps even reverse — the diabetes epidemic will take collaboration. ... Working together, we can change the future of health care and improve the human condition,” Kenny said.
As a “kick start” to the partnership, the ADA and IBM Watson Health created the Watson-based innovation challenge for developers, Hagan announced. Developers are invited to propose cognitive apps that leverage both ADA data and Watson insights.
The challenge, Hagan said, will “advance the use of technology, promote health and ultimately improve the lives of people with diabetes or prediabetes.”
The challenge will be open for submission this summer. To learn more, visit www.watsonhealth.ibm.com/challengediabetes. – by Regina Schaffer
Hagan K, Kenny D. Presented at: American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions; June 10-14, 2016; New Orleans.
Disclosure: Hagan is CEO of the ADA. Kenny is general manager at IBM.