HHS and IBM leading Hamilton to the world stage of health innovation

By March 8, 2016General

IBM  and Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) are joining forces to help area hospital clinicians, researchers, academics and entrepreneurs accelerate the development and commercialization of new healthcare innovations.

The two announced plans to establish a new centre in downtown Hamilton focused on healthcare innovation. The centre – with both a physical and virtual collaboration space – will give area healthcare providers, researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs advanced technology tools and expertise to improve healthcare outcomes and put Hamilton on the map as a hub for healthcare innovation in Canada. The target location for the centre is 100 King Street West.

“Hamilton is among the top cities in Canada for health research innovation. When you combine that with the entrepreneurial spirit of our city, the possibilities are endless,” said Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger. “This partnership is proof of the growing platform we have here to launch new ideas and turn them into new products that improve health care and create the jobs of tomorrow.”

IBM is contributing access to an array of its Watson cognitive and analytics software, expertise in cloud computing and high-performance computing infrastructure, and a network of global collaborators. HHS, with its cadre of more than 1,500 principal investigators and research staff, provides practical industry expertise and a “real-world” test environment.

“Healthcare is facing tremendous challenges, and so we have to innovate in order to be sustainable.”

“Healthcare is facing tremendous challenges, and so we have to innovate in order to be sustainable,” said Rob MacIsaac, president & CEO, HHS. “We’re creating an innovation space that will attract others to bring their ideas and solutions to the table for deployment across our healthcare system. This multidisciplinary approach to innovation is the way of the future providing opportunities to transform healthcare in Hamilton, in Ontario, and potentially around the world.”

In two of the first projects, IBM and HHS will test how IBM Watson cognitive and analytics capabilities can be applied to HHS’ existing decision-support database, to provide insight into how patients use the healthcare system; they will also explore introducing a mobile component to add functionality and scalability to HHS’s early warning system, which electronically monitors a patient’s vital signs for subtle changes indicative of a worsening condition or pending medical event.

The facility will also be open to others including academics from HHS research partners McMaster University and Mohawk College, local start-up and scale-up businesses, and individual innovators who share the common goal of developing innovative healthcare solutions.

“We’re witnessing a convergence of market forces in healthcare that position this industry for massive transformation. This new era of cognitive computing and our Watson technology is enabling health care organizations worldwide to leap forward to advanced solutions spanning clinical research, patient care and population health and wellness,” said IBM Canada President Dino Trevisani. “By collaborating with Hamilton Health Sciences, we can foster discovery, accelerate commercialization and drive better healthcare outcomes that put Hamilton-grown, Canadian-grown, R&D innovation on the world stage.”