IBM and the Boston Children's Hospital will be teaming up to use the Watson software to focus on studying and curing rare illnesses in children.
The "cognitive computer" has been in development for a number of years now, with different versions of it being put to work on different tasks. One version is trying to put together the overall composition of ingredients of recipes that come from top chefs into a database of recipes.
Since 2013, IBM has been working with the Boston Children's Hospital on a project called Open Pediatrics, which helps give physicians a reference database when it comes to intensive care. The project itself is aimed at helping clinics that don't have a large staff or a lot of resources.
Initially, the new Watson Health initiative will be targeted toward rare kidney diseases. The software will create two different sets of data — one being a set of research studies and the other being health records in electronic format from those that have rare kidney diseases.
Dr. Christopher Walsh, director of the Division of Genetics and Genomics at the hospital, eagerly stated that Watson could help physicians in diagnosing and curing the rare illnesses. He added that it would allow doctors to discover relevant insights from patients' clinical history, DNA information, health data from populations and supporting evidence.
IBM recently announced the opening of the Watson Health office, which it aims to fill with 700 staff by the spring. This collaboration is a departure from the typical collaborations between IBM Watson Health, which are generally focused on adult health care. This will also be the first implementation of the technology for rare diseases.