Does your organization work in or collaborate with the health sector? Do you have great amounts of health data that you’d like to utilize? IBM’s new Watson Health Center in Helsinki can help. The Center leverages cognitive computing and artificial intelligence to surface insights from the massive amount of personal health data created daily, in order to help companies, hospitals and researchers innovate, streamline operations and cut costs.
IBM has launched collaboration with the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation Tekes to make its Watson cognitive computing better available to the Finnish health sector, including public and private healthcare organizations, startups, small and medium-sized companies, large corporations, as well as universities and researchers. The aim of the partnership is to create Finnish innovations and boost the Finnish health ecosystem, and in the long run, improve the health of the Finnish population. The initiative is expected to employ at least 150 people in Finland over the next few years.
“Finland is a forerunner in healthcare: a small but very agile and innovative country with a top-notch education system and lots of expertise. The Finnish legislation and biobanks enable the utilization of the country’s extensive digital health databases, collected over decades. IBM, on the other hand, has been working on healthcare solutions based on cognitive computing and artificial intelligence, which have been eagerly welcomed by the global health sector. IBM’s technology can help utilize Finland’s unique databases in entirely new ways and create exciting new opportunities in healthcare,” says Maarit Palo, Executive, Governmental Affairs and University Relations, at IBM Finland.
Strengthening Watson services in Finland
The cognitive era – how information will be used in the future – is in the core of IBM Watson, which in itself is not only restricted to the health sector but can benefit any organization that needs to make better use of its digital data. Some organizations may use it to streamline or grow their business or gain new competitive edge, while others aim to come up with more innovations. As Watson analyzes large masses of data, it continuously learns and gains a better ability to find new insights and solutions.
Several Finnish organizations are already using the Watson solution, from the global leader in the lift and escalator industry Kone to the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa.
“Cognitive computing and artificial intelligence will be an important part of any sector in the future, as
the need to utilize our rapidly growing mass of information becomes more and more urgent. The amount of medical data alone doubles every 60 days, and cognitive computing is needed to find the relevant information from this mass. The Watson Health Center will strengthen our cognitive computing services In Finland,” Palo says.
One example of IBM’s health sector Watson collaboration is a large project with the University of Jyväskylä. The partnership, which also includes the City of Jyväskylä, Sitra, Tekes, and many other partners, aims to study how cognitive computing can help streamline operations, improve services and create savings in Finland’s upcoming social welfare and healthcare services reform.
Watson Health Center and SMEs: business collaboration and partnership program
The Watson Health Center will be opened in April 2017 in Munkkiniemi, Helsinki. It will bring together organizations from the Finnish health ecosystem to innovate together. It will also help these organizations capitalize on their data, reach their own goals, and collaborate with each other.
“We will be working with a large variety of organizations ranging from hospitals and hospital districts to small businesses and international pharmaceutical companies, and the forms of collaboration vary accordingly. The Watson Health Center is a satellite to IBM’s global expertise and networks, so we hope to open doors between Finnish organizations and international business and research partners,” Palo says.
Concrete forms of collaboration between the Watson Health Center and small and medium-sized enterprises include IBM’s Watson business services and a Watson partnership program. Firstly, IBM offers companies Watson services, built on its local and global analytics and computing expertise and its consulting and support experience in business development and internationalization. The form of individual projects varies according to client companies’ needs, i.e. whether they wish to utilize their data for growth, innovation, or something else.
In addition to business services, IBM runs a Watson partnership program for startups, SMEs, and academic initiatives. The program enables the use of IBM Watson software and open interfaces for no cost until the partner starts gaining business success from their initiative.
“The partnership program is part of our objective to share knowledge and take corporate responsibility. By offering our tools for product development and innovation, we can contribute even more to the development of new technologies,” says Maarit Palo.
“Finnish organizations have already shown extraordinary interest in IBM’s Watson services, and the Watson Health Center puts Finland in a position to take European and global leadership in digital healthcare. Remote location is no obstacle in digital platform economy, and we have now every opportunity to attract companies and researchers from all over the world and make Finland the global ‘Health Valley’.”
Interested in collaboration with the Watson Health Center? For more information, contact the Director of the Center Miikka Kiiski, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Text: Anu Jussila