Q&A with Steve Tolle, IBM Watson Health Imaging's vice president of global business development and strategy

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Q&A with Steve Tolle, IBM Watson Health Imaging's vice president of global business development and strategy

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | January 02, 2018
Health IT RSNA
Steve Tolle
HCB News stopped by IBM Watson's Health booth at the 2017 RSNA to chat with Steve Tolle, vice president of global business development and strategy at Watson Health Imaging, about company plans and products out in the new year and the present and future states of machine learning.

HCB News: Talk us through IBM Watson Health's 2017 and how its health care strategy has evolved.

Steve Tolle: Watson Health overall has five greater market teams focusing on different buyers with different unique needs. We have a team that focuses on oncology so we have Watson for oncology and Watson for genomics. We have a team that focuses on life sciences and works with medical device companies to use AI to power their business innovation. We have a team that focuses on government. We have a team that focuses on value-based care and population health. And then we have imaging.

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The imaging team is about two sides of the business. In an enterprise imaging portfolio, there is radiology, cardiology, enterprise imaging, orthopedics, ophthalmology. We were one of the first companies in the market to truly offer health systems one place to manage all of their diagnostic imaging. And now a lot of vendors are pursuing that same strategy.

The second side of our imaging business is artificial intelligence and that’s where we’re using the cloud and our Watson technologies to bring AI into radiology. This year, at the show, we are only showing things that are going to be coming off our truck in 2018.

Given the hype of AI in the marketplace, we decided it was important to show what’s real and talk about the value proposition that AI has for micro-imaging.

We have a couple of offerings that we’re showing in the theater.

One product that is available today is called IBM Watson Imaging Clinical Review. It’s a retrospective quality improvement platform that looks for discrepancies in the medical record. We released it with one clinical indication for aorta valve stenosis, which is a deadly heart disease, and that was released last year. We are getting ready to release the second version that will cover 306 diseases, and what the product does is Watson actually reads the EMR, the notes, the text, the lab results, the radiology reports. Then, it looks at the patient’s problem list. The problem list is really important to a hospital because that’s how they manage care, and we identify discrepancies. So, Watson sees that something is mentioned in the EMR that is not in the problem list. That could be for a lot of reasons, but it gives the hospital the opportunity to go and determine 'Is there a gap in care? Did data not flow from one system to another?' Managing a problem list is quite challenging for doctors and hospitals. That offering is available today but we’re enhancing it.

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