IBM Watson Health to invest $50M in research with Brigham and Women's Hospital, VUMC

IBM Watson Health is planning to invest $50 million over 10 years to support research collaborations at Boston-based Brigham and Women's Hospital and Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.

Projects will initially focus on practical applications of artificial intelligence to improve healthcare, team workflows and understanding of human-machine interactions. IBM said one of the first projects might involve studying ways to use AI to improve EHR and claims data utility for public health, such as to support patient safety or precision medicine.

A key issue the collaboration plans to address is physician burnout.

"AI is the most powerful technology we have today to tackle issues like [physician burnout], but there is still a great deal of work to be done to demystify the real role of AI in healthcare with practical, proven results and clear-cut best practices," Kyu Rhee, MD, vice president and chief health officer at IBM Watson Health, said in a news release. "By putting the full force of our clinical and research team together with two of the world's leading academic medical centers, we will dramatically accelerate the development of real-world AI solutions that improve workflow efficiencies and outcomes."

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