IBM Watson forms imaging coalition

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 - Anne LeGrand with IBM Watson

Cognitive technology company IBM Watson has formed a new coalition to improve the way physicians use medical imaging data in their daily practices.

The initiative branded the Watson Health medical imaging collaborative comprises 16 leading health systems, academic medical centers, ambulatory radiology centers and imaging companies, said Anne LeGrand, vice president of imaging at Watson Health.

“The collection of this coalition is very deliberate,” LeGrand said in an interview with Health Imaging. “In order to get to real world medicine, we realize Watson can’t do it alone and this is an ecosystem we are forming so we can do broader work.”

Le Grand said the coalition will be adding additional members in coming months.

The group is focusing on using imaging technology to detect and address cancer, diabetes, eye conditions, brain and heart diseases and other related conditions like strokes. Using the imaging data collected combined with other information, the group aims to help physicians build a body of knowledge based on individual patient reports that can help broader patient populations, LeGrand said. The group has been in development for about seven months already.

“[IBM] has done extraordinary work and they’re really excited to see this coming to commercial realization where it’s going to be used for real world medicine,” LeGrand said.

There is no fee associated with being part of the coalition, LeGrand said. Current members include Belgium-based Agfa HealthCare, Radiology Associates of South Florida in Miami and Sunrise, Fla.-based Sheridan Healthcare. For a complete list of participating organizations, click here.