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IBM Watson Health invests $50mn in research collaborations to advance use of AI in healthcare

Initially, they are expected to conduct studies to see if AI could improve the use of electronic health records (EHRs) and claims data.

IBM Watson Health plans to invest $50mn in research collaborations with two academic organisations as part of a 10-year plan to advance the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare.

The IBM business unit will work alongside Brigham and Women's Hospital (a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts) and Vanderbilt University Medical Centre in Nashville, Tennessee.

Initially, studies are expected to see if AI could improve the use of electronic health records (EHRs) and claims data.

The research will also explore physician and patient user experience and interaction with AI technologies.

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Kyu Rhee, M.D., M.P.P., vice president and chief health officer at IBM Watson Health, said that the collaboration demonstrates IBM’s belief that working with leading institutions is the best way to “ advance, and understand practical solutions that solve some of the world's biggest health challenges”.

“Today, for example, physicians are spending an average of two hours with their electronic health records and deskwork for every hour of patient care, a phenomenon the American Medical Association says is leading to a steady increase in physician burnout,” he continued.

“AI is the most powerful technology we have today to tackle issues like this one, but there is still a great deal of work to be done to demystify the real role of AI in healthcare with practical, proven results and clear-cut best practices.”

IBM says that initial projects will focus on the practical application of AI to improve care, enhance team workflow and better understand human-machine interactions.

IBM Watson Health's vice president and chief science officer, Gretchen Purcell Jackson, added: “Our collaborative research will unlock new insights that affect broad health stakeholders: from providers, payers, governments, and life science companies to ultimately the most important stakeholder, patients, and seek to improve health around the globe."

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