The FINANCIAL -- To accelerate the adoption of Watson cognitive computing in healthcare, IBM (NYSE: IBM) on March 19 announced an investment in Modernizing Medicine, a provider of cloud-based, specialty-specific electronic medical records (EMR) systems and other technologies that capture structured data, track outcomes and deliver clinical decision support.
This is the latest direct investment that IBM has made through its $100 million fund to seed Watson innovations. The investment caps $20 million in Series D funding secured by Modernizing Medicine, raising its overall funding total to $49 million. Modernizing Medicine is the creator of the Electronic Medical Assistant (EMA), a specialty-specific EMR system, and provider of comprehensive specialty-specific billing, revenue and inventory management solutions. Over 5,000 healthcare providers in the U.S., including approximately 30 percent of dermatologists, use Modernizing Medicine’s platform. According to the recent 2015 Black Book Market Research report, the company’s EMA Dermatology solution ranked first overall in the dermatology space for the second consecutive year.
The funding from IBM and other investors will help Modernizing Medicine accelerate market expansion in eight medical specialties, as well as enhance and expand its suite of solutions. This includes further development of schEMA, the company’s mobile app accessed through EMA that leverages the cognitive computing power of Watson to give physicians rapid clinical decision support at the point of care. schEMA is able to analyze massive amounts of published, peer-reviewed medical data and healthcare research to help physicians practice enhanced evidence-based medicine.
Available first in dermatology with future development planned for Modernizing Medicine’s other medical specialties, schEMA allows dermatologists to ask questions in natural language about possible symptoms and treatments, and within seconds receive an informed, evidence-based response – all without leaving the exam room. This is made possible by Watson’s ability to quickly query and identify relevant information contained in thousands of medical journals, research studies and other documents.
“Modernizing Medicine is a great example of the breakthrough innovation we have seen from our partners who are building a new class of cognitive computing solutions powered by Watson,” said Stephen Gold, vice president, IBM Watson. “IBM’s investment will help speed the introduction of their schEMA app and demonstrates how Watson can be used by medical professionals to improve how they practice evidence-based medicine."
“Today’s announcement is an exciting milestone in our journey to deliver specialty-specific solutions to healthcare providers, including an entirely new class of cognitive-infused patient care apps powered by Watson,” said Daniel Cane, co-founder and CEO, Modernizing Medicine. “After being selected to join the Watson Ecosystem last year, we’re honored that IBM and our other investors are committed to our vision for schEMA and its ability to help physicians transform dermatology and other specialties.”
Developed by practicing physicians, EMA is an ICD-10 ready, cloud-based native iPad application built using structured data technology plus specialty-specific medical knowledge and workflows. The system is designed to accommodate the accelerated movement towards new quality-of-care reporting and outcome-based reimbursement. The schEMA app, which will be available on mobile devices including the iPad, will be showcased at the American Academy of Dermatology conference in San Francisco from March 21-23 at booth 5216.
Modernizing Medicine’s corporate culture, leadership and growth continue to gain recognition. The company plans to expand its employee base with approximately 100 new positions within the next 12-18 months. The company was recently named the number one Best Place to Work by the South Florida Business Journal, and the company was also named in Red Herring’s Top 100 North America list, which recognizes the top private companies that are expected to achieve significant growth in the near future. Co-founders Dan Cane and Michael Sherling were honored with the Leadership in Health Care Award by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 2014.
The medical community has been one of the first to partner with IBM to identify and create Watson technologies. IBM has been collaborating with leading hospitals and research organizations including Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic and New York Genome Center, to advance Watson’s healthcare capabilities and transform how medicine is taught and practiced.
To encourage greater innovation in this area, IBM is pursuing direct investments in organizations such as Modernizing Medicine that are developing new cognitive apps and systems powered by Watson. IBM’s previous investments in the healthcare space include Pathway Genomics, a clinical laboratory that offers genetic testing services, and Welltok, an industry leader in health optimization solutions.
IBM Watson: Pioneering a New Era of Computing
Watson is the first commercially available cognitive computing capability representing a new era in computing. The system, delivered through the cloud, analyzes high volumes of data, understands complex questions posed in natural language, and proposes evidence-based answers. Watson continuously learns, gaining in value and knowledge over time, from previous interactions.
In January 2014, IBM launched the IBM Watson unit, a business dedicated to developing and commercializing cloud-delivered cognitive computing technologies. The move signified a strategic shift by IBM to deliver a new class of software, services and apps that improves by learning, and discovers insights from massive amounts of Big Data. IBM is investing $1 billion into the Watson unit, focusing on development and research, and bringing cloud-delivered cognitive applications and services to market.
Fueled by innovation from IBM’s Research labs and a mission to transform industries and professions, IBM is delivering a range of cloud-based Watson products and services to clients in industries such as banking, healthcare, insurance, retail and education.
IBM also offers an open Watson digital innovation platform – the Watson Zone – that enables developers to tap into new Watson services and rapidly build, deploy and manage apps across any combination of public, private and hybrid cloud. Thousands of developers, entrepreneurs, data hobbyists, students and others have already built more than 7,000 apps powered by Watson to date.