Agfa HealthCare Collaborates with IBM and Watson to Advance Cognitive Imaging

Agfa HealthCareAgfa HealthCare has joined the Watson Health medical imaging collaborative, a global initiative comprised of fifteen leading health systems, academic medical centers, ambulatory radiology providers and imaging technology companies. The collaborative aims to bring cognitive imaging into daily practice to help doctors address breast, lung, and other cancers; diabetes; eye health; brain disease; and heart disease and related conditions, such as stroke.

The role of the collaborative
Members of the collaborative plan to put Watson to work to extract insights from previously 'invisible' unstructured imaging data and combine that with a broad variety of data from other sources. In doing so, the efforts may help physicians make personalized care decisions relevant to a specific patient while building a body of knowledge to benefit broader patient populations. This information may include data from electronic health records, radiology and pathology reports, lab results, doctors' progress notes, medical journals, clinical care guidelines and published outcomes studies.

Initial plans include training Watson and evaluating potential new offerings in a variety of patient care environments ranging from stand-alone ambulatory settings to integrated health delivery networks. The aim in doing so is to gather data based on diverse real-world experience and to share findings to inform how the medical community might reduce operational and financial inefficiencies, improve physician workflows, and adopt a patient-focused approach to improving patient care and outcomes.

"With an ability to draw insights from massive volumes of integrated structured and unstructured data sources, cognitive computing could transform how clinicians diagnose, treat and monitor patients," said Anne Le Grand, vice president of Imaging for Watson Health. "Through IBMs medical imaging collaborative, Watson may create opportunities for radiologists to extract greater insights and value from imaging data while better managing costs."

Expertise and technology
James Jay, Vice President Imaging IT and Integrated Care Solutions businesses at Agfa HealthCare, elaborates: "We are very excited about the opportunity to collaborate with IBM and Watson. Healthcare systems are under enormous pressure to improve productivity; our combined expertise has the capability to harness the untapped power of technology to deliver the gains that have so far only been achieved in isolated use cases. Together we will look for ways to advance our customers' ability to leverage the analytics power of Watson united with our own Enterprise Imaging platform, to assure that the right knowledge is available, at the right time, to help diagnose and treat their patients. We will be diving into specific use cases to turn the power of big data into real, tangible applications focused on specific improvements in either speed or accuracy of decisions."

Luc Thijs, President of Agfa HealthCare, explains, "we will contribute to the success of Watson for three reasons. One, we are present in one out of two hospitals worldwide. Second, we develop leading e-Health platforms for Enterprise Imaging, Integrated Care, Population Health Management and Analytics. Last but not least, there is the clinical expertise of our people, an integral part of our company DNA."

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About IBM Watson Health
Watson is the first commercially available cognitive computing capability representing a new era in computing. The system, delivered through the cloud, analyzes high volumes of data, understands complex questions posed in natural language, and proposes evidence-based answers. Watson continuously learns, gaining in value and knowledge over time, from previous interactions. In April 2015, the company launched IBM Watson Health and the Watson Health Cloud platform. The new unit will help improve the ability of doctors, researchers and insurers to innovate by surfacing insights from the massive amount of personal health data being created and shared daily. The Watson Health Cloud allows this information to be de-identified, shared and combined with a dynamic and constantly growing aggregated view of clinical, research and social health data.

About Agfa
The Agfa-Gevaert Group is one of the world's leading companies in imaging and information technology. Agfa develops manufactures and markets analogue and digital systems for the printing industry (Agfa Graphics), for the healthcare sector (Agfa HealthCare), and for specific industrial applications (Agfa Materials). Agfa is headquartered in Mortsel, Belgium. The company is present in 40 countries and has agents in another 100 countries around the globe. The Agfa-Gevaert Group achieved a turnover of 2,865 million euro in 2013.

About Agfa HealthCare
Agfa HealthCare, a member of the Agfa-Gevaert Group, is a leading global provider of diagnostic imaging and healthcare IT solutions. The company has nearly a century of healthcare experience and has been a pioneer on the healthcare IT market since the early 1990's. Today Agfa HealthCare designs, develops and delivers state-of-the-art systems for capturing, managing and processing diagnostic images and clinical/administrative information for hospitals and healthcare facilities, as well as contrast media solutions to enable effective medical imaging results. The company has sales offices and agents in over 100 markets worldwide. Sales for Agfa HealthCare in 2013 were 1,160 million euro.

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