By John Hearne
I recently read a story about an elderly woman with a heart condition. She lives in a building without air conditioning and there was concern that a hot and humid day in July could easily put her health at risk and possibly lead to a costly ER visit.
As the story pointed out, the reality is that a few hundred dollars for an air conditioner could solve the problem before it ever happened.
Of course, to case workers at social services agencies around the world, the difficulty of identifying interventions before situations become critical is not news.
In a perfect system, an individual’s health needs would be understood not only medically, but also in the context of their lifestyle, living environment, family conditions and other social factors. Making this information readily available to health and case workers would help them spend more time in the field where they are needed the most. Continue Reading »
By Patty Fritz
Despite afflicting 65 million people worldwide, including nearly 3 million Americans, epilepsy remains one of the least understood and most individualized chronic conditions. A recent special issue of the medical journal, The Lancet, highlighted the significant unmet medical needs in epilepsy and called on public health officials to treat this disease as a global health priority.
To address this pressing public health issue, global biopharmaceutical company UCB and IBM have announced phase one completion of a proof of concept project that will use Big Data and advanced analytics to potentially offer more personalized care to millions of people living with epilepsy.
Currently, a team of IBM researchers is poring through de-identified, anonymous data on more than 1.5 million U.S.-based epilepsy patients – approximately half those affected by the condition in our country – using machine learning tools and patient similarity analysis. The goal of the project is to demonstrate that an interactive system can be developed that translates massive amounts of patient data and scientific insights that healthcare providers can consult at the point of care to inform their treatment decisions. Continue Reading »
By Jane Munn
When mapping out a cloud infrastructure, one of the first things that becomes clear is the bifurcation between low-end, commoditized products and enterprise-class solutions.
But even within that second category, a quick look under the covers of certain solutions often shows a patchwork of proprietary products that lack integration and optimization – a little server virtualization here, some specialized apps there, and a little “something-as-a-service” somewhere else – with no real thought to the enterprise as a whole.
For clients to gain the full advantages of this technology, a strategic cloud solution should include virtualization, standardization and provisioning for efficiency, cost-effectiveness, ease of management and fast deployment. Just as important, that solution should cover software, servers and storage, with deep roots in open standards, to ensure that clients can take advantage of cloud’s benefits today while beating a path to the future. Continue Reading »
By Karen Parrish
This week, professionals from around the world are attending eHealthWeek to discuss trends, innovations and solutions to address the ongoing challenges in healthcare. There certainly won’t be a lack of data and discussion about cost, wellness, aging populations and dealing with chronic conditions. While there are plenty of opinions, what’s missing from this deluge of points of view is a holistic approach to meeting needs of individuals – an approach IBM calls Smarter Care.
We’ve known for decades that health and social systems are interdependent and have a critical impact on each other. Yet the complex matrix of public and private stakeholders in the health and well-being of citizens still operate largely within silos, providing separate and disparate care. Continue Reading »
By Terry F. Yosie
Environmental issues are big, thorny problems. Scarcities in water, food and raw materials are too complex for any single company or non-governmental organization to solve on its own. In order to make a difference, it’s necessary to collaborate with like-minded partners to achieve shared goals.
Collaboration is a normal feature of customer-supplier relationships, government-business partnerships and initiatives with universities and other partners. It’s also typical for organizations looking for new business models that can sustain profitability while addressing societal needs, natural resource management, product and service innovation, and differentiation of brand value, to name a few. Collaboration can spur organizations to redefine their business purpose by utilizing society as another kind of R&D lab for innovation. Continue Reading »
By Jessica Brown
Asian countries are at very different stages of development. This is nowhere truer than in healthcare policy. Some countries have very well developed — even rigid — healthcare systems. In others, the healthcare system is evolving rapidly.
Across much of the region, a window of opportunity has opened. Some governments are at risk of repeating mistakes made in other parts of the world. Yet other innovative policymakers and providers are forging a different path to the long-established healthcare systems of the West. Many are trying to learn from the mistakes others have made. The best are leapfrogging ahead to new models of healthcare provision.
Healthcare innovation in Asia is taking many different forms. In the Philippines, a new sin tax on alcohol and tobacco will fund the extension of the national health insurance scheme Philhealth. In Thailand, patients must pay extra to bypass primary care in an effort to ease the burden on a financially stretched hospital system. In South Korea, a performance management system has been created to address problems such as the over-prescription of antibiotics. Continue Reading »
By Ashish Soni
At USC, innovation is at the forefront of our curriculum and culture. As the Founding Director of the Viterbi Student Institute for Innovation, I am always looking for new ways to build a culture of innovation, one where our students have the freedom to cultivate new ideas and see them through to the next level.
That’s exactly what we were able to accomplish at USC last month when we collaborated with IBM on the first-ever West Coast Watson Academic Case Competition. More than 100 students across the university came together to put their critical thinking skills to the test and develop new applications for IBM’s Watson technology – and it was a huge success.
As the world grows ever more complex due to the skyrocketing volume of Big Data, technologies like IBM’s Watson are piquing the interest of our students by allowing them to realize the true potential of what cognitive computing can achieve. Continue Reading »
By Mark Kris, M.D.
As a longtime fan of the TV game show, Jeopardy!, I was fascinated when I watched an IBM supercomputer named Watson beat all-time Jeopardy! champions, two years ago this month.
I was particularly interested because my friend and colleague Larry Norton had previously alerted me to the fact that systems like IBM Watson could be harnessed to improve cancer care and research. Combining the abilities to process massive amounts of data and using natural language processing could not only accomplish amazing things….like winning Jeopardy!, but also revolutionize care and research, accelerating progress for people with cancers. After a year on this project, I remain as excited today as I was on day one.
Over the past year, we at Memorial Sloan-Kettering have worked with an IBM team to train Watson to help assist medical professionals in choosing treatments for lung and breast cancers. We are sharing our knowledge and expertise in oncology to help Watson learn everything it can about cancer care and how Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s experts use medical information and their experience in personalized cancer treatments.
When the three IBM researchers who invented the technology that underlies LASIK and PRK refractive surgery made their breakthrough discovery in 1981, scientists in the physical sciences department at the Thomas J. Watson Sr. Laboratory in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., were considered to be “islands of expertise.” Their job was to labor away in their individual labs on fundamental advances in their specialties. But, in practice, things worked out differently. And that helps explain how a physicist, a chemist and a materials scientist made one of the most important discoveries ever for the practice of refractive eye surgery.
Today, interdisciplinary collaboration is one of the pillars of IBM’s approach to advancing science and technology. And, in the coming years, as scientific fields collide with increasing frequency, the ability of scientists to build bridges between their domains will likely be one of the core competencies for research organizations–whether corporate, governmental or academic.
The three IBM Research scientists showed how it’s done. For their efforts, James Wynne, the physicist; Rangaswamy Srinivasan, the chemist; and Samuel Blum, the materials scientist, will be honored at the White House today when President Obama presents the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. (Unfortunately, Blum died a few weeks ago. Srinivasan is no longer at IBM.) This is just the most recent of many honors the three men have received over the years, but for Wynne the greatest satisfaction lies closer to home. “The best thing for me is that I invented something that corrected my own son’s eyesight,” he says.