IBM Watson Imaging AI makes world debut at HMH

May 06, 2019

Technology expected to efficiently inform care decisions with deep clinical insights

ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. – Hardin Memorial Health radiologists became the world’s first to “go live” with IBM Watson Imaging Patient Synopsis – one of the newest, most advanced tools available for medical imaging professionals. IBM Watson Health’s General Manager for Imaging, Anne Le Grand joined HMH senior leaders today to witness history in the making as HMH radiologist Jesse Bryant, M.D. officially “logged in” to make Patient Synopsis available to the entire HMH imaging team. During the implementation phase, HMH’s Dr. Bryant was also the first radiologist in the world to log into the test software.

Watson combines artificial intelligence (AI) and sophisticated analytical software to answer questions. The technology is named for IBM's founder, Thomas J. Watson. 

“In healthcare alone, there are countless applications for this technology. We are thrilled HMH could be the first to put Watson to use in medical imaging,” said Le Grand. “Patient Synopsis provides a summary view of the patient, by analyzing and extracting relevant insights from the patient records, so radiologists can uncover underlying issues.” She described it as a “single-view summary of relevant patient information.”

“We are so proud HMH could be the world’s first to use this next generation technology. Our skilled radiologists provide analysis and care found more commonly in larger metropolitan healthcare systems,” said Dennis Johnson, HMH president and CEO. “The HMH IT team is equally as skilled and entrepreneurial. Together, they were perfect to partner with IBM to test and be the first to ‘go live’ with a tool that is expected to dramatically assist care givers in their treatment of patients. The HMH team and the over 400,000 Central Kentuckians we care for deserve the world’s best in imaging technology. Now, thanks to a long and valued relationship with IBM, they have just that.” 

HMH Chief of Radiology, Stewart Couch, M.D. said Patient Synopsis is invaluable.  

“The average electronic health record contains volumes of unstructured data which makes it challenging to find what might be relevant for a diagnosis,” said Couch. “This amazing application is expected to provide deep insight and analysis at an exponentially faster speed.”

IBM technology is unique in applying a radiologist-trained AI to decipher the content of unstructured data buried in records and surface it in seconds to inform radiologists.

“We are able to analyze data and extract relevant information in a way that we’ve never been able to before,” said Bryant. “Patient Synopsis considers data from the present illness, past procedures, medications, indications from diagnostic reports, social and family history, demographics, vitals, allergies and labs. It gives us broader situational awareness that will help us make even better patient decisions and it does it in a single view.”

HMH was selected as a test location and an early adopter of Patient Synopsis in part because of its commitment to technology including Picture Archiving Communications Systems (PACS) manufactured by Merge Healthcare, an IBM subsidiary, from which the new IBM Watson Imaging tools will pull information. 

HMH is a natural partner for IBM to test IBM Watson Imaging Patient Synopsis due to its high patient volume and its agile, entrepreneurial spirit. 

Hardin County Judge-Executive and Chairman of the HMH Board of Trustees Harry Berry attended today’s announcement and expressed his pride and excitement.

“We know HMH is a world-class healthcare system and today we can certainly say we are global leaders as well,” he said.