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IBM and HHS announce research collaboration

Rob-MacIsaacHAMILTON, Ont. – IBM and Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) are joining forces to help 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 in the downtown core of the city. More than 300 HHS administrative staff will also move in to the same location this fall.

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,” 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 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 healthcare 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.”

About IBM
IBM is one of Canada’s top ten private R&D investors, and in 2014 contributed more than $465 million to Canadian research activities. IBM has a unique approach to collaboration that provides academic researchers, small and large business, start-ups and developers with business strategies and computing tools they need to innovate. Areas of focus include health, agile computing, water, energy, cities, mining, advanced manufacturing, digital media and cybersecurity. IBM and its partners have in the past three years helped create 240 high-value jobs and launch more than three dozen new businesses. Please visit http://www.ibm.com/ibm/ca/en/canadian-innovation.html

About HHS
Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) is the only hospital system in Ontario providing specialty care to people throughout the entire life cycle – from pre-birth to old age. HHS cares for patients from across south central Ontario and beyond, with referral programs that include cardiac, stroke, burns, trauma, neurosurgery, pediatrics, digestive diseases, high-risk obstetrics, cancer, orthopedics and rehabilitation services. Hamilton Health Sciences includes six hospitals and six specialized facilities, and has the largest healthcare team in Ontario with 15,000 staff, physicians and volunteers. As a teaching hospital affiliated with McMaster University, HHS is also an international leader in hospital-based research and innovation and one of the top two hospitals in Canada in the amount of research funding it attracts. More than 1,500 investigators, scientists and research staff attract $300 million annually.

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