The American Diabetes Association and IBM Watson Health has announced on 12 June a continuing collaboration to amalgamate their forces to fight diabetes. This joint effort will combine the efforts to better manage and treat diabetes using the processing power of Watson supercomputer and the Association’s extensive clinical and research data. Their aim is to develop the world’s first diabetes advisor and management system aimed at both patients and care-givers. The companies also announced an app challenge to develop a program to uniquely deliver diabetes prevention and management aid using cognitive learning.
The goal of the collaboration is to create results that allow the diabetes community to actively streamline important health choices and tackle necessary concerns about health policies and explore social and economic factors that influence people’s lifestyle choices. The collaboration will enable Watson to comprehend diabetes data, exploring links that increase risk of the disease, to produce tailored recommendations to better tackle the onset of diabetes.
Watson will utilize the institute’s clinical and scientific data comprising of 66 years worth of recorded data, as well as the Association’s collective data on self-healing, diabetes education, health groups and wellness activities and exercises. The latest techniques incorporated into Watson allow it to extract data from the Watson Health Cloud, a service that provides secure and seamless information, that will unleash Watson’s full capabilities such as deep data analysis, predictive analysis, natural language processing, personality insights, similarity analytics.
Kevin L Hagan, CEO of the Diabetes Association, said, “For more than 75 years, the American Diabetes Association has promoted a data-driven approach to clinical care and disease management because we know it can significantly improve peoples’ lives while also reducing health care costs. By combining the Association’s enormous body of valuable data with Watson’s cognitive computing capabilities, we will empower people living with diabetes, clinicians and researchers with better data and better insights, which ultimately can lead to better outcomes.”
Watson will not just benefit patients but will also help healthcare officials as well. The team of scientists intends to develop a cognitive diabetes database to allow for better treatment options and care management techniques. The healthcare officials could further utilize Watson’s personal insight capabilities to tweak the recommendations according to cater to a patient’s specific requirements. Moreover, caregivers can compare the symptoms to population level trends of patients with similar symptoms and characteristics to identify and assess potential risk factors.
Additionally, researchers will greatly benefit from Watson’s abilities. The Diabetes Association and IBM Watson Health collaboration intends to develop a cloud-based data and information service that will allow scientists to make use of the Association’s clinical and scientific proof to help them explore hidden patterns and eventually discover a breakthrough diabetes treatment. This discovery will dictate the future researchers in the field of diabetes.
Patients and caregivers will benefit by making available their personal health records, demographics and medical history to allow delivery of tailored medical information and advice. For instance, the joint effort could lead to the development of a revolutionary mobile app that gets integrated with IBM’s Watson Care Manager, a software suite focused on delivering care management specifics, to deliver personalized health information catering each patient’s specific needs.
The Need For Cognitive Health Apps
The need for IBM’s cognitive app development challenge is a simple one: to support people living with diabetes and to ultimately cure diabetes. Diabetes is a chronic, metabolic disease that affects the pancreas’ ability to produce insulin, resulting in high blood glucose levels, leading to further health complications such as obesity and coronary disease. Diabetes affects 422 million people worldwide and is one of the leading causes of global death. 1.4 million people are affected with diabetes in the US. Diabetes and prediabetes cost $322 billion per year, and 1 in 5 healthcare dollars is spent caring for people with diabetes, according to data from World Health Organization and American Diabetes Association.
Developers were encouraged to build self-learning apps that use Watson’s rich and extensive data library to provide seamless and responsive apps that will provide recommendations according to each user’s requirements via artificial intelligence. The apps will be innovative, distinct and most importantly allow technology to assist patients living with diabetes.
Mobile health apps are the latest trend to emerge from the world of health information technology and this trend is going to grow exponentially over the coming years. More and more individuals are using mobile health apps for self-diagnosis or using them in conjunction with some medical devices. It is estimated that by 2020, the global market share for mobile health apps is going to expand to $49 billion. Hence the need for these apps was on a global scale.
“As the science of diabetes advances, big data presents a tremendous opportunity in diabetes care and prevention. But patients, caregivers and healthcare providers need access to cognitive tools that can help them translate that big data into action, and Watson can offer access to timely, personalized insights,” said Kyu Rhee, MD, MPP, chief health officer, IBM Watson Health. “The American Diabetes Association is the ideal partner for IBM to enable this type of developer challenge, given the Association’s role establishing clinical care standards worldwide. Our collective goal is to provide the motivation, the tools and the insights to transform clinical care, self-management and accelerate scientific breakthroughs.”
About American Diabetes Association
The American Diabetes Association, founded in 1940, is a US based organization aimed at fighting diabetes and to help those affected by diabetes. Its current CEO is Kevin Hagan. it is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, US.
About IBM Watson Health
IBM Watson Health is a cloud based infrastructure that uses high volume data analysis to develop prediction models, capable of understanding complex questions asked in natural language, and proposes factual, evidence-backed answers. Watson continuously learns, gaining in value and knowledge over time, from previous interactions using artificial intelligence algorithms.