IBM Forms Watson Healthcare Advisory Board

ARMONK, N.Y., March 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced the formation of a new Watson Healthcare Advisory Board.  The board members include medical leaders with expertise in areas such as primary care, oncology, biomedical informatics and medical innovation. They will provide IBM with insights on healthcare issues that could be positively impacted by Watson technology adoption.


The advisory board will specifically focus on medical industry trends, clinical imperatives, regulatory considerations, privacy concerns, and patient and clinician expectations around the  Watson technology and how it can be incorporated into clinician workflows. The initial nine-member board represents leading organizations in various areas of healthcare delivery, and includes:

  • Charles Barnett, Ascension Health, President, Healthcare Operations and Chief Operating Officer. Since 1993, Charles J. Barnett FACHE, led the Seton Healthcare Family, an Ascension Health ministry, in serving the healthcare needs of 1.9 million Central Texas residents in 11 counties. Barnett now oversees Ascension Health operations nationwide.
  • Dr. Michael Barr, American College of Physicians ACP, Senior Vice President is responsible for promoting best practices according to the principles of patient-centered care and professionalism through the development of innovative products and services, quality improvement programs and educational initiatives for internists and other healthcare professionals.
  • Dr. Herbert Chase, Columbia University Faculty, Professor of Clinical Medicine (in Biomedical Informatics) has collaborated with IBM Research on the Watson technology and related use cases in healthcare. Dr. Chase's research interests include decision support tools for diagnosis and management of chronic kidney disease. He continues to develop new medical educational programs and is implementing a four-year curriculum in medical decision-making.
  • Dr. Lynda Chin, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Professor and Chair, Department of Genomic Medicine.  Actively involved in the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC), Dr. Chin is a recognized leader in the translation of the cancer genome.  She is interested in using cutting-edged information technology and computational biology to accelerate the conversion of cancer genomic insights into tangible endpoints that impact patient outcome in the clinics.
  • Chris Coburn, Cleveland Clinic, Executive Director of Innovation, has built a high performing team of nearly three dozen professionals in collaboration with some of the nation's top venture capitalists.
  • Dr. Douglas Henley, American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Henley works with the AAFP Board of Directors on the mission, strategy and vision of the organization and provides representation to others from the medical, public, and private sectors.
  • Dr. Michael K Magill, The Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of Utah School of Medicine, Past President, Association of Departments of Family Medicine. For 13 years he has held leadership roles in the University's Community Clinics, in which he leads transformation of primary care delivery under a model of Patient Centered Medical Homes known as Care by Design™ .
  • Dr. Steven Shapiro, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Chief Medical & Scientific Officer. Dr. Shapiro's primary focus is working with his colleagues across UPMC and the School of Medicine to develop improved models of clinical care based upon "good science" and "smart technology."
  • Dr. David R. Spriggs, Head, Division of Solid Tumor Oncology; Vice Chair Experimental Therapeutics, Department of Medicine, Winthrop Rockefeller Chair of Medical Oncology. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Spriggs leads Memorial Sloan-Kettering's program in early drug development, testing new, targeted drugs in clinical trials. He leads a research laboratory examining the biology and novel drug treatment of ovarian cancer and how genes can affect the development of tumors. In his practice as a medical oncologist he takes care of patients with gynecological malignancies. He is an Associate Editor for the Journal Clinical Oncology, for Gynecologic Cancers.    

Watson represents a new class of industry-specific analytical solutions and decision support systems that use deep content analysis and evidence-based reasoning and natural language processing.  By accurately extracting medical facts and quickly understanding relationships buried in large volumes of data, such as electronic medical records, family medical history, and the latest clinical research, the technology can help accelerate and improve clinical decisions, reduce operational waste, and enhance patient outcomes.

"Watson represents a technology breakthrough that can help physicians improve patient outcomes," said Dr. Herbert Chase, a professor of clinical medicine at Columbia University. "As IBM focuses its efforts on key areas including oncology, cardiology and other chronic diseases, the advisory board will be integral to helping align the business strategy to the specific needs of the industry."

"The depth of leadership, talent and experience represented on the Watson Healthcare Advisory Board will be instrumental to advancing how IBM Watson technology is put to work in the healthcare industry," said Manoj Saxena, general manager of IBM Watson Solutions. "IBM's Watson technology has the potential to profoundly impact the quality of patient care by fundamentally transforming how medicine is taught, paid for and practiced."

The Watson computing technologies are currently being developed and commercialized by IBM in collaboration with the healthcare industry in order to help doctors and healthcare professionals improve diagnosis and treatment in areas such as chronic disease and oncology. 

The recommendations of the Watson Healthcare Advisory Board will be shared with IBM clients and used by IBM's global team of healthcare industry professionals. This group of more than 4,000 professionals and 60 medical doctors are working with clients to create smarter healthcare systems, focused on the patient, aimed at reducing medical errors, achieving better patient safety and quality outcomes, and saving lives. IBM has undertaken more than 3,000 healthcare transformation projects around the world from small hospitals to national healthcare systems.

About IBM

For more information about IBM Watson Solutions visit and IBM Smarter Healthcare

Rebecca Mettler
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Holli Haswell
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SOURCE IBM Corporation