Leveraging Analytics to Improve Health

IBM is committed to a world where everyone can live a healthy life. In the 1950s, we provided machines that expedited polio vaccination research; in the 1960s and 1970s, we developed early hospital information and patient tracking systems. In 2015, IBM launched Watson Health, which leverages cognitive computing to solve complex health and medical challenges worldwide. Over 7,000 health-focused employees create and deliver solutions using the latest technologies and computing power. 

IBM’s corporate citizenship programs support nonprofits to improve health outcomes in our communities by integrating our leading solutions and talent. In particular, through a portfolio of programs we offer analytics software, consulting and cloud based technologies to our nonprofit partners around the world.

Our work spans the health space, but we have centered our attention on several critical areas:

Oncology: Watson cognitive software is helping researchers at the Netherlands-based Semmy Foundation better understand how to extend the life expectancy for children with brainstem tumors. IBM technology is improving MRI scanning and image analysis to more quickly deliver the information needed to diagnose this cancer. In Peru, a Corporate Service Corps team worked with Cervicusco to help the organization scale cervical cancer screenings from 35,000 women to 75,000.

Populations in Crisis: IBM helped Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Italy to collect, manage, and analyze refugee and migrant data, resulting in a mobile app that allows MSF to capture real-time medical data using mobile tablets, regardless of connectivity. Watson Analytics, part of the solution, has enabled cognitive analysis and predictive capabilities that equip practitioners to understand and act on their data in a faster, more insightful way.

Infectious Diseases: IBM delivered a self-adaptive, cognitive-based solution that provides modeling for epidemic disease prediction and analysis of case numbers and trends to the Center for Disease Control in Shenzhen, China, to help prevent and control infectious disease outbreaks. In Brazil, IBM leveraged social media analytics to help Fiocruz deepen its understanding of the spread of Zika virus. Our World Community Grid has advanced health research with the Scripps Research Institute to search for Ebola antiviral drugs and treatments for HIV.

Mental Health: IBM is helping Mental Health America (MHA) uncover insights from standard data collected from online mental health questionnaires. The results of this work will help MHA understand trends to better tailor services and response needs. The Malaysian Mental Health Association received consulting to help the organization leverage social media to tackle mental health issues and improve influencer engagement.

Community Health:  Sometimes more sophisticated data management solutions transcend health areas to support nonprofits with greater efficiencies. New York-based Hudson Guild uses IBM SafetyNet to document the impact services have on the health of their its local community through access to nutritious food and important benefits, such as Medicaid and Medicare, and to educate clients about living a healthy lifestyle. IBM volunteers are building mobile solutions to help the elderly, manage refugee camps, and address many other medical needs globally.

IBM’s innovative cognitive computing technology has helped usher in a new era in technology, where IT systems are no longer programmed—they understand and continuously learn. This power opens new frontiers, furthering a history of innovations made possible by pioneering methods and tools for data analysis. IBM envisions a world where all people live healthy lives, as health is both an end and a means to further development and well-being. We remain committed to leveraging our capabilities to achieving this future.

Executive Director, The Philadelphia Foundation