Agfa HealthCare collaborates with IBM and Watson to advance cognitive imaging

Agfa HealthCare has joined the Watson Health medical imaging collaborative, a global initiative comprised of more than fifteen leading health systems, academic medical centres, ambulatory radiology providers and imaging technology companies. The collaborative aims to bring cognitive imaging into daily practice to help doctors address breast, lung, and other cancers; diabetes; eye health; brain disease; and heart disease and related conditions, such as stroke.
Members of the collaborative plan to put Watson to work to extract insights from previously invisible’ unstructured imaging data and combine that with a broad variety of data from other sources. In doing so, the efforts may help physicians make personalized care decisions relevant to a specific patient while building a body of knowledge to benefit broader patient populations. This information may include data from electronic health records, radiology and pathology reports, lab results, doctors’ progress notes, medical journals, clinical care guidelines and published outcomes studies.
Initial plans include training Watson and evaluating potential new offerings in a variety of patient care environments ranging from stand-alone ambulatory settings to integrated health delivery networks. The aim in doing so is to gather data based on diverse real-world experience and to share findings to inform how the medical community might reduce operational and financial inefficiencies, improve physician workflows, and adopt a patient-focused approach to improving patient care and outcomes.
‘With an ability to draw insights from massive volumes of integrated structured and unstructured data sources, cognitive computing could transform how clinicians diagnose, treat and monitor patients,’ said Anne Le Grand, vice president of Imaging for Watson Health. ‘Through IBMs medical imaging collaborative, Watson may create opportunities for radiologists to extract greater insights and value from imaging data while better managing costs.’
James Jay, Vice President Imaging IT and Integrated Care Solutions businesses at Agfa HealthCare, elaborates: ‘We are very excited about the opportunity to collaborate with IBM and Watson. Healthcare systems are under enormous pressure to improve productivity; our combined expertise has the capability to harness the untapped power of technology to deliver the gains that have so far only been achieved in isolated use cases. Together we will look for ways to advance our customers’ ability to leverage the analytics power of Watson united with our own Enterprise Imaging platform, to assure that the right knowledge is available, at the right time, to help diagnose and treat their patients. We will be diving into specific use cases to turn the power of big data into real, tangible applications focused on specific improvements in either speed or accuracy of decisions.’
Watson is the first commercially available cognitive computing capability representing a new era in computing. The system, delivered through the cloud, analyses high volumes of data, understands complex questions posed in natural language, and proposes evidence-based answers. Watson continuously learns, gaining in value and knowledge over time, from previous interactions. In April 2015, the company launched IBM Watson Health and the Watson Health Cloud platform. The new unit will help improve the ability of doctors, researchers and insurers to innovate by surfacing insights from the massive amount of personal health data being created and shared daily. The Watson Health Cloud allows this information to be de-identified, shared and combined with a dynamic and constantly growing aggregated view of clinical, research and social health data.