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IBM announces $100 million health care initiative

IBM plans to enlist some of its own leading scientists and technologists, as well as new hires, to develop new technologies and business processes for health care and insurance providers.

For its $100 million health care initiative, IBM is enlisting researchers like those who helped develop this chip in Zurich as a one-step point-of-care diagnostic test. IBM

IBM plans to announce on Thursday a $100 million three-year initiative--enlisting its own scientists and technologists alongside new hires in the medical field--to develop technologies and business processes for health care and insurance providers.

IBM points to its work in systems integration, services research, cloud computing, analytics, and emerging fields such as nanomedicine, as the drive behind an initiative it hopes will empower practitioners to spend more time on patient care.

In a news release, IBM says it plans to enlist the help of more than 100 researchers from its research laboratories scattered around the world--in Haifa, Tokyo, Zurich, and more--and to hire physicians, clinicians, nurses, engineers, economists, and social scientists.

The ultimate goal is threefold: To develop treatment methodologies that are personalized; to simplify how health care is delivered; and to create new incentives and models that help evolve health care into a system that rewards based on patient outcomes rather than simply volume of care.

"Improving the quality of health care requires more than just digitizing health data," says Chalapathy Neti of IBM Research. "Enabling greater coordination between care providers and transforming data into clinical decision intelligence could improve patient outcomes and help lower costs of health care today."

The company's news release further enunciates this point:

With the amount of digital information patients amass over time, it is critical that doctors are able to integrate and analyze data from many different sources--such as patient demographics, lab tests, modality studies such as EKGs and echo videos, specialist interpretations, etc.--to form a holistic picture of a patient's condition and make more informed judgments and decisions in treatment.

IBM highlights privacy, patient data security, and compliance with health care regulations as themes that will be prevalent throughout the initiative.

For more, visit IBM's Smarter Healthcare page.