Atrius Health and IBM Watson Health Forge Partnership to Bring Cognitive Insights to Primary Care Physicians and Their Patients

| Posted On Feb 21, 2017 | By:

Atrius Health and IBM (NYSE: IBM) Watson Health recently announced an agreement to develop a cloud-based offering for primary care providers. By providing a holistic view of the multiple influences on an individual’s health, including social determinants, Watson Cognitive Insights could be designed to support shared decision making between physicians and patients.

According to a paper published by Health Affairs, shared decision making, whereby physicians and their patients make healthcare decisions together using the best clinical evidence available, has been linked to numerous benefits for patients, clinicians, and the health care system. This includes increased patient knowledge, less anxiety over the care process, improved health outcomes, reductions in unwarranted variation in care and costs, and greater alignment of care with patients’ values. Despite these benefits, many physicians report challenges incorporating shared decision making technology into their direct patient interactions.

The new solution could be designed to address these challenges by integrating within the physician’s workflow in the electronic health record system.  It could summarize key cognitive insights about a patient’s health status, assemble a de-identified cohort of people similar to the individual, and describe the outcomes of those people under various treatment options.

“Atrius Health is committed to increasing the joy in the practice of medicine for our clinicians and staff,” said Steve Strongwater, MD, President and CEO of Atrius Health. “Working with IBM Watson Health offers a unique opportunity to help our Atrius Health clinicians make greater use of the mountains of digitalized information generated daily through our care of patients. The unique capabilities of Watson Cognitive Insights will help our primary care clinicians increase both effectiveness and efficiency. Furthermore, we anticipate this partnership will increase our ability to reliably identify and close care gaps to improve the quality and safety of ambulatory clinical care.”

By teaming with IBM Watson Health on the development of this new solution, Atrius Health aims to ensure that powerful analytics are applied at the point-of-care to support real world physician/patient dialogue.

“Watson’s natural language processing can read and understand clinical notes in the electronic health record. When combined with analytics and other advanced technologies, it is then possible to extract critical insights about an individual’s health and responses to interventions,” said Paul Tang, MD, MS, Vice President and Chief Health Transformation Officer for IBM Watson Health. “Armed with comprehensive information about the individual, and insights about the outcomes of similar people, physicians will be in a better position to personalize the care plan for each person.”

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 can mask individual identities and allow this information to be shared and combined with a dynamic and constantly growing aggregated view of clinical, research and social health data. For more information on IBM Watson, visit: For more information on IBM Watson Health, visit:

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