IBM‘s innovative approaches in healthcare, powered by cloud and cognitive data analytics give a fresh vigor to efforts that are poised to bring about a paradigm shift in therapy and patient experience.

With the patient front and center, the improved processes spin a sphere of care, using an amalgam of technology and medical research. The ultimate goal is to get a grasp on the common thread that runs to define the well-being of an individual.

Sequencing genes, analyzing drug interactions with each other and their effect on the individual, becomes a breeze, due to availability of research data and expert collaboration via Cloud. The patient’s lifestyle, diet and medical history in perspective with valuable genetic data, provides a complete picture of whether the combination of prescriptions is a lethal mix or a magic potion for treatment.

Gingerly prodding on new developments in cognitive analytics by utilizing Watson as well as Natural language processing (NLP), progress on matching patients with on-going clinical trials seems promising.

Latest medical research data, pharmaceutical updates and expert advice are made available on mobile devices, to enhance and maximize reach to remotest places.

Case studies presented:

1.       Coriell Life sciences – GeneDose (

Serious adverse reactions to prescription medications cause deaths. Genedose – the genetic advisory tool, uses a sample of patients DNA to find out how they would respond to certain medications. There is a lot of information available on the medications by themselves, and also how they react with each other when used in a combination prescription. But how an individual reacts to a particular medication is something the physician discovers after trial and error. Genetics, lifestyle, demographic, medical history, allergies are vital variables that can be ingested into to the real time modeling tool, to synthesize a risk and treatment benefit plan that is uniquely tailored to that individual. The interactive tool demonstrates a striking a balance of risk to therapy.

The technology players included IBM BPM, Cloudant and Tivoli hosted on Softlayer. The solution is delivered on desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablets. The results show which drugs are high risk and tweak dosage to suit metabolism and diet to work find a golden balance.

2.       Mayo Clinic - Matching cancer patients to clinical trials (

It’s a race against time to find a matching potential clinical trial from among 180,000 trials conducted each year. IBM’s Watson extracts detailed patient information and pulls out a list of possible matching clinical trials for that specific patient.  Currently entering clinical trial information in the systems is a manual process. While the cognitive analytics part of matching the two data sets, i.e. patient information and clinical trials, is being accomplished by Watson, the task of entering clinical trial information will be carried out using Natural Language processing. This will enable finding quick matches without active human involvement.

3.       MD Anderson Cancer Center – Bringing care to the patient


Oncology Expert Advisor ™ (OEA) powered by Watson, is a ‘trained by experts’ virtual advisor that runs on mobile devices. It is a handy virtual companion for in-network physicians all over the world. It throws open the vast treasure trove of research resources, findings and case studies, irrespective of the physician-patient location.

Watson’s cognitive analytics in the Bluemix ecosystem, is used to extract data from free form notes, nurses’ documentation and medical records. Bluemix offers convenient access to multiple technologies (mobile, cognitive) on a flexible platform. The cloud offering expands point of access and enables sharing large data files among physicians.

The OEA can provide evidence-based treatment and management options covering standard approved therapies, investigational protocols and simulate peer to peer advice.

Day-to-day life for stressed families of cancer patients can become a nightmare, when they travel to provider locations for treatment. MD Anderson’s myMDA™ app, works as a concierge service advisor for the visiting patient family by offering suggestions on what to eat, getting about in the town, managing time in-between appointments etc.

After all, the care continuum extends to include how the patient and everyone around them feels.

NiyamIT’s Natural Language Processing System (NLP)

It was originally designed to eliminate the manual processing and matching of clinical trials to patient records. It has spun into an intelligent system that uses custom algorithms, natural language processes and ontologies to break down unstructured content into manageable datasets. These datasets can be analyzed to provide valuable insights.

Contact for more information on NiyamIT NLP.

(Author: Shweta Katre)