IBM today launched $250 million healthcare initiative

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IBM today unveiled a major healthcare initiative designed to help healthcare providers and payers manage costs, reduce medical errors, and deliver better patient care.

The company says the initiative will infuse an estimated $250 million of investments into IBM's healthcare business over the next three years for new hiring of healthcare specialists, solutions development, research and development projects, IBM Business Partner collaborations, and other programs.

IBM will collaborate with Duke University Health System and the Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute on the projects. The company also will create the IBM Center for Healthcare Management and the IBM Research Healthcare and Life Sciences Institute. In addition, IBM will add the new IBM Clinical Transformation consulting practice and IBM Information Based Medicine business unit.

Duke University Health System and IBM will develop an on-demand information management system. Dubbed Duke On Demand, the technology will help speed critical information to researchers and clinicians who can facilitate identification of new, more effective treatments for diseases, such as breast cancer and heart disease.

The system is being designed to integrate clinical data -- such as patient records and lab tests -- with research findings about genes and proteins to help give doctors a more complete and personalized profile of a patient's medical condition, while protecting patient confidentiality.

The H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute and IBM are collaborating on a disease management system designed to help researchers and clinicians screen patients at risk for diseases and identify potential clinical trial participants faster. The new Clinical Research Data Warehouse will focus initially on lung cancer and will integrate data from more than 30 disparate databases throughout the hospital and research center.

Moffitt is located at the University of South Florida and has more than 280 physicians, 600 researchers, and a network of 13 affiliate hospitals throughout the state.