IBM Watson decision tools expand, lands at NYC HQ

Confirming that New York metro’s once-devastated (post-dot.com bust) ‘Silicon Alley’ is increasingly attractive to healthcare and tech firms, IBM this past Monday opened its new NYC downtown headquarters at Astor Place for the IBM Watson Group. Our readers have been following the development of Watson in the healthcare decision-making process since 2012 [TTA’s article index here], primarily in oncology (breast and lung cancer), in the UK (via the RSM’s 5 June ‘Big Data’ conference) as well as the US. IBM Watson has smartly created Ecosystem Partners where third parties integrate Watson. The spread is fairly wide: travel (your Editor’s former industry), retail, veterinary care, IT security and support, cognitive computing and of course healthcare. Spotlighted were three companies: @PointofCare, Welltok and GenieMD.

  • New Jersey-based @PointofCare went live last month and is targeted to physicians who support patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Using their proprietary content plus information from PubMed, CDC and the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America, they provided the base data for Watson to crunch. Watson’s facility for fast natural language processing created a reliability rating on the information of 79 percent for physicians and patients (according to MedPageToday). The company plans to add Watson capability to its current suite of clinical decision tools.
  • Welltok’s CaféWell Concierge population health manager has been in market for some time, but will be using Watson to provide greater health optimization for its users.
  • GenieMD is a Watson Mobile Developer Challenge winner; its mobile app analyzes personal health information and sends information on diabetes and other chronic diseases.

IBM release, MedPageToday

Further confirmation of New York as a digital health startup hub is in this short commentary by Crain’s NY Business citing StartUp Health‘s calculation that NY-area companies came in second nationally in attracting early-stage funding, with $584 million in 33 deals to date this year. Third quarter Series A stars were Wearable Intelligence (clinician wearables such as Google Glass uploading to EHRs) receiving $8.4 million and AdhereTech (a very smart pill bottle we’ve followed for two years, TTA’s articles here) with $1.75 million.

It does make it regrettable, but in character, that a year or two ago Tunstall Americas did not twig to the trend by reinforcing its presence right here on its US home ground, actively creating key customer and tech alliances. Instead, they largely departed for a corner of Rhode Island. (For further on this, please see the latter part of my May article and commentary, ‘Tunstall’s unhappy lenders and the consequences of debt service’ )

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