The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Veterans Health Administration (VHA) area is working with IBM Watson to develop and pilot a Clinical Reasoning System to assist and accelerate decision making by primary care physicians. The $6.8 million, two-year project will concentrate on acquiring and analyzing the data generated by hundreds of thousands of VHA documents, medical records, EMRs and research papers. The second focus of the VA-Watson relationship will also include mental health–supporting veterans with PTSD who constitute 12-20 percent of US veterans from Vietnam to present. The pilot phase, interestingly, will use simulated, not real, patients.
IBM continues to expand the Watson footprint as we noted earlier this fall with a business incubator in New York [TTA 9 Oct] and high-profile work with Cleveland Clinic (Watson EMR integration with research which VA will extend), Baylor College of Medicine, Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi as part of a billion-dollar overall investment. VA, under its new secretary Robert McDonald, has been going through the challenges of restructuring the organization and eliminating scandalously long care delays; accelerating health care decision making dovetails nicely with the latter. VA release. FBO notice. IBM release (12/15, to come).