IBM Watson Health announces $50M investment in advancing AI in healthcare

IBM Watson Health has announced a new 10-year, $50 million investment in joint research collaboration projects with Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) to advance the application of artificial intelligence (AI) in public health.

According to a recent Vanderbilt University news release, the collaborations will focus on ways AI can improve the use of electronic health records (EHRs) and claims data. They will also work to help physicians and patients get more out of their interactions with AI technologies.   

“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," Kyu Rhee, MD, vice president and chief health officer at IBM Watson Health, said in the news release.

Gretchen Purcell Jackson, MD, PhD, IBM Watson Health’s new vice president and chief science officer; David Bates, MD, MS, chief of general internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School; VUMC’s Kevin Johnson, MD, MS, chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics; and Gordon Bernard, MD, executive vice president for research, will all help lead the effort.

Medical data is expected to double every 73 days by 2020, Jackson said in the news release. This will leave clinicians with less time to find patient information buried in EHRs or literature and could cause them to feel rushed when making key decisions about patient care.

“Through AI, we have an opportunity to do better and our hope is to find new ways through science and partnerships with industry leaders like Watson Health to unlock the full potential of AI to improve the utility of the EHR and claims data to address major public health issues like patient safety,” Bates noted in the news release.