Did you know IBM invented the heart lung machine, the first continuous blood separator which led to treatment for leukemia patients, or the excimer laser used in LASIK eye surgery? Over the years, IBM has worked with the World Health Organization to map outbreaks of smallpox, we built the prototype of the first medical imaging system, and our computers were credited by Dr. Jonas Salk as helping him save valuable time in the race for an effective polio vaccine.
Last week, we announced a research discovery to fight drug-resistant bacteria. IBM Researchers and the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology discovered a nanomedicine breakthrough in which new types of polymers were shown to physically detect and destroy antibiotic-resistant bacteria and infectious diseases like Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, known as MRSA. We’re actively applying our deep experience in nanotechnology and chip design to sequence genomes and create faster, cheaper diagnostic tools. We’re exploring how we can use the technology behind Watson, the latest Jeopardy! champion, to support physicians in their pursuit to better serve, diagnose and treat patients.
IBM also has a long history of creating and connecting systems to share patient information. As many nations are undergoing a period of healthcare transformation, we are helping entire countries develop new patient-centric models of care and evidenced-based approaches to medicine. There are enormous possibilities to improve the quality, access and safety of our health systems. As medical information is increasingly standardized and appropriately shared in the interest of the patient and public health, we are making huge strides. And we’re showing that we can get better quality and better outcomes while improving total cost of providing healthcare.
As we mark IBM’s centennial, major advancements in connecting and sharing health information will probably be one of the most practical, yet significant hallmarks of our time. Without good access to patient data, improving the quality of care becomes practically impossible.
Here’s a short video that looks at IBM’s history of connecting patient information and addresses how this critical data will be used to provide better care today and in the future.