Thursday, March 1, 2012

IBM Forms Watson Healthcare Advisory Board

One year after competing on the game show Jeopardy!, IBM is on the fast track to commercializing the deep question and answer technology for the healthcare industry. The nation's largest insurer, WellPoint, is already using the Watson technology on several pilots. To help IBM further its development to meet the changing demands of the healthcare industry, IBM today named the IBM Watson Advisory Council made up of leading experts from the field of medicine and technology.

Here's the press release:

IBM Forms Watson Healthcare Advisory Board

ARMONK, N.Y., March 1, 2012 – IBM today announced the formation of a new
Watson Healthcare Advisory Board. The board members include medical
leaders with expertise in areas such as primary care, oncology, biomedical
informatics and medical innovation. They will provide IBM with insights on
healthcare issues that could be positively impacted by Watson technology

The advisory board will specifically focus on medical industry trends,
clinical imperatives, regulatory considerations, privacy concerns, and
patient and clinician expectations around the Watson technology and how it
can be incorporated into clinician workflows. The initial nine-member board
represents leading organizations in various areas of healthcare delivery,
and includes:

· Charles Barnett, Ascension Health, President, Healthcare
Operations and Chief Operating Officer. Since 1993, Charles J.
Barnett FACHE, led the Seton Healthcare Family, an Ascension
Health ministry, in serving the healthcare needs of 1.9 million
Central Texas residents in 11 counties. Barnett now oversees
Ascension Health operations nationwide.
· Dr. Michael Barr, American College of Physicians ACP, Senior
Vice President is responsible for promoting best practices
according to the principles of patient-centered care and
professionalism through the development of innovative products
and services, quality improvement programs and educational
initiatives for internists and other healthcare professionals.
· Dr. Herbert Chase, Columbia University Faculty, Professor of
Clinical Medicine (in Biomedical Informatics) has collaborated
with IBM Research on the Watson technology and related use cases
in healthcare. Dr. Chase’s research interests include decision
support tools for diagnosis and management of chronic kidney
disease. He continues to develop new medical educational
programs and is implementing a four-year curriculum in medical
· Dr. Lynda Chin, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer
Center, Professor and Chair, Department of Genomic Medicine.
Actively involved in the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and the
International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC), Dr. Chin is a
recognized leader in the translation of the cancer genome. She
is interested in using cutting-edged information technology and
computational biology to accelerate the conversion of cancer
genomic insights into tangible endpoints that impact patient
outcome in the clinics.
· Chris Coburn, Cleveland Clinic, Executive Director of
Innovation, has built a high performing team of nearly three
dozen professionals in collaboration with some of the nation’s
top venture capitalists.
· Dr. Douglas Henley, American Academy of Family Physicians
(AAFP), Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer.
Dr. Henley works with the AAFP Board of Directors on the
mission, strategy and vision of the organization and provides
representation to others from the medical, public, and private
· Dr. Michael K Magill, The Department of Family and Preventive
Medicine, University of Utah School of Medicine, Past President,
Association of Departments of Family Medicine. For 13 years he
has held leadership roles in the University’s Community Clinics,
in which he leads transformation of primary care delivery under
a model of Patient Centered Medical Homes known as Care by
· Dr. Steven Shapiro, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine,
Chief Medical & Scientific Officer. Dr. Shapiro’s primary focus
is working with his colleagues across UPMC and the School of
Medicine to develop improved models of clinical care based upon
“good science” and “smart technology.”
Dr. David R. Spriggs, Head, Division of Solid Tumor Oncology;
Vice Chair Experimental Therapeutics, Department of Medicine,
Winthrop Rockefeller Chair of Medical Oncology. Memorial
Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Spriggs leads Memorial
Sloan-Kettering’s program in early drug development, testing
new, targeted drugs in clinical trials. He leads a research
laboratory examining the biology and novel drug treatment of
ovarian cancer and how genes can affect the development of
tumors. In his practice as a medical oncologist he takes care of
patients with gynecological malignancies. He is an Associate
Editor for the Journal Clinical Oncology, for Gynecologic

Watson represents a new class of industry-specific analytical solutions and
decision support systems that use deep content analysis and evidence-based
reasoning and natural language processing. By accurately extracting
medical facts and quickly understanding relationships buried in large
volumes of data, such as electronic medical records, family medical
history, and the latest clinical research, the technology can help
accelerate and improve clinical decisions, reduce operational waste, and
enhance patient outcomes.

“Watson represents a technology breakthrough that can help physicians
improve patient outcomes," said Dr. Herbert Chase, a professor of clinical
medicine at Columbia University. "As IBM focuses its efforts on key areas
including oncology, cardiology and other chronic diseases, the advisory
board will be integral to helping align the business strategy to the
specific needs of the industry."

"The depth of leadership, talent and experience represented on the Watson
Healthcare Advisory Board will be instrumental to advancing how IBM Watson
technology is put to work in the healthcare industry,“ said Manoj Saxena,
general manager of IBM Watson Solutions. "IBM's Watson technology has the
potential to profoundly impact the quality of patient care by fundamentally
transforming how medicine is taught, paid for and practiced.”

The Watson computing technologies are currently being developed and
commercialized by IBM in collaboration with the healthcare industry in
order to help doctors and healthcare professionals improve diagnosis and
treatment in areas such as chronic disease and oncology.

The recommendations of the Watson Healthcare Advisory Board will be shared
with IBM clients and used by IBM’s global team of healthcare industry
professionals. This group of more than 4,000 professionals and 60 medical
doctors are working with clients to create smarter healthcare systems,
focused on the patient, aimed at reducing medical errors, achieving better
patient safety and quality outcomes, and saving lives. IBM has undertaken
more than 3,000 healthcare transformation projects around the world from
small hospitals to national healthcare systems.

For more information about IBM Watson Solutions visit
and IBM Smarter Healthcare

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