IBM Invests £65m Into Healthcare IT

IBM is launching a $100 million (£65m) health care IT research campaign that will work to develop new medical technology

IBM is investing $100 million over the next three years to boost its efforts in medical research. The company will hire medical doctors, nurses, clinicians, social scientists and engineers to work alongside more than 100 of its IT researchers, IBM announced on 15 July.

Lower Cost Of Care

The IT giant is active in areas such as DNA sequencing and nanomedicine, which applies nanotechnology — the building of materials at a subatomic level — to medicine. With the additional resources, medical professionals will be able to form a complete picture of a patient’s condition, improve medical outcomes and lower the cost of care, Chalapathy Neti, global lead for health care transformation at IBM Research, told eWEEK.

IBM had been working with physicians at facilities such as Mayo Clinic and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Now by hiring doctors in-house, the company’s researchers will gain a better understanding of diagnosis and care without a pause in workflow, Neti said. The newly hired physicians will help IBM build medical technologies that can be easily adopted by the public, said Neti.

As part of this initiative, IBM also announced its collaboration with the European Hypergenes consortium to study genomic, clinical and environmental factors that may cause essential hypertension (EH).

Manage Chronic Diseases

The joint effort could lead to early detection, prevention and therapy for EH patients, IBM said. Another project involves using data mining and analytics to better understand the cause of drug reactions. The $100 million health care push includes a partnership with Peking University People’s Hospital in China to build a mobile platform to remotely manage chronic diseases.

Meanwhile, IBM also announced that it will share its expertise in analysing IT systems with claims processing firm NASCO (National Account Service Company) to help the claims payment industry adapt to changing health-care regulations.

On 1 July, Big Blue announced a collaboration with Switzerland-based pharmaceutical firm Roche on DNA sequencing that could lead to personalised medical diagnosis and treatment.