IBM just made another major step toward getting its Watson supercomputer into hospitals around the world.
Siemens and IBM Watson Health are teaming up in something they're calling a five-year "global strategic alliance" to bring Watson to population health — a concept that's aimed at improving the health of people in an entire community, not just those in the hospital needing immediate care. The companies did not disclose the financial terms of the partnership.
Siemens is a German industrial company which, in addition to a healthcare branch (dubbed Siemens Healthineers), also works in energy and transportation.
The partnership basically just gives Watson a chance to reach out to a lot more people who provide healthcare, as according to Siemens, the company is involved in more than 70% of "critical clinical decisions" thanks to Siemens instruments.
For now, the partnership will essentially just bundle Watson Health's services up with what Siemens already sells to hospitals. Later, the two plan to develop tools and services together (think: possibly a CAT scan that has artificial intelligence built in).
"Siemens has a deep experience how hospitals folks that run hospital systems. We can benefit from these," said Dr. Anil Jain, senior vice president and chief medical officer at Explorys, an IBM company that does healthcare big data analytics. "It's complementary to the experience Watson Health has already developed."
Watson, IBM's supercomputer, can process huge amounts of data to do anything from analyzing "Star Wars" screenplays to coming up with recipes. Watson can also sift through massive amounts of health data — everything from electronic health records to insurance claims, to academic papers detailing new treatments. IBM Watson Health has been saying that it wants to transform the healthcare system by making it easier for your doctors to make a better diagnosis.
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