IBM Watson Health Showcases Health Technology Advancements


IBM Watson Health (NYSE: IBM) today announced highlights from its latest advancements in applying artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and analytic technologies to address the data-driven obstacles of diabetes, as presented at the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) 78th Scientific Sessions.

Through IBM Watson Health’s ongoing partnership with Medtronic, the companies announced the commercial availability of Sugar.IQ™ with Watson, an app that aims to give people insights to help manage their diabetes. IBM Watson Health also announced findings from three data presentations at ADA, including real-world data underscoring the value of machine learning and analytic tools in diabetes.

“Data-driven technologies like AI, machine learning and analytics are changing the way people manage their health today, and the launch of the Sugar.IQ app with Watson is an indication of where the future of disease management is headed,” said Kyu Rhee, MD, MPP, Vice President and Chief Health Officer, IBM Watson Health. “Through IBM Watson Health’s partnership with Medtronic, we’re bringing the power of AI to the everyday lives of people with diabetes, with the goal of lessening the burden of disease.”

Medtronic & IBM Watson Health Launch Sugar.IQ with Watson

The average patient with diabetes has to make more than 180 decisions daily based on careful monitoring of their glucose, nutritional intake and activity level.1 The Sugar.IQ diabetes assistant works exclusively with the Guardian™ Connect Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) system and continually analyzes glucose, insulin, food, and other data from past and present to give users a better understanding of how lifestyle choices, medications and multiple daily injections impact diabetes management.  Using Watson, the Sugar.IQ™ app gives people with diabetes powerful, personalized insights to help them make more informed decisions to better manage glucose levels and keep them in the target range.

At ADA, new data presented in an oral session by Medtronic, demonstrated the utility of Sugar.IQ in a real-world setting (Abstract: Real-World Assessment of Sugar.IQ with Watson—A Cognitive Computing-Based Diabetes Management Solution). The study found that people with diabetes using the Sugar.IQ app spent 36 more minutes per day in healthy glucose range compared to before they used the app. This included 30 minutes less time in hyperglycemia (>180 mg/dL) and 6 minutes less time in hypoglycemia (<70 mg/dL). This represents more than 9 additional days in a year that a person with diabetes is spending in a healthy glucose range.

Real-World Data Demonstrates Importance of Real World Evidence in Assessing Diabetes Management

Watson Health also unveiled findings from two presentations at ADA that highlighted insights from real world evidence gleaned from IBM claims data. Investigators from the ADA and IBM Watson Health presented a retrospective analysis in an oral presentation, which found a significant number of Type 2 diabetes (T2D) patients are not compliant with their medications after one year (Abstract: Evaluation of Treatment Persistence in Individuals with Type 2 Diabetes in a Real-World Setting). The study included data for 324,136 adults (mean age 55 years, 46% women) from the Truven Health MarketScan® Commercial and Medicare Supplemental Databases who were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes between 2013 and 2016.  After three months, 31% of patients had discontinued their diabetes medications altogether; by six months, the number increased to 44%, and by one year to 58% of patients had stopped treatment. This study suggest interventions are needed to improve adherence and avoid gaps in therapy that can be associated with serious outcomes for patients.

Separately, a study conducted by scientists from the ADA and IBM Watson Health found that applying machine learning tools can identify potential therapeutic benefits of certain T2D medication classes by comparing health outcomes reported in IBM claims data (Abstract: A Real-World Evaluation of the Association between Cardiovascular Outcomes and T2D Therapy). This analysis, presented during a poster session, demonstrated that certain T2D medications classes are associated with fewer instances of cardiovascular events, including heart failure, heart attacks and strokes, demonstrating the power of machine learning techniques to help practitioners develop new insights that can positively affect patient care.

As part of IBM Watson Health’s ongoing collaboration with ADA to leverage Watson-powered solutions to support the diabetes community, the two companies also demonstrated a new proof of concept (POC) tool at this year’s Scientific Sessions leveraging Watson Multimedia Services.  The POC tool ingested 90 hours of video webcasts from more than 300 webcasts from the 2017 ADA Scientific Sessions and applied AI techniques to these videos, to make it easier for people to navigate video content from last year’s Scientific Session and decrease the amount of time spent searching for answers to specific questions locked away in these videos.

Watson and Advocacy Partners Shed Light on Health Disparities

IBM Watson Health and the ADA also convened a panel discussion during the meeting that brought together leading diabetes clinicians, academics, innovators and journalists for a conversation on how to better leverage technology to address health equity challenges. The event featured diabetes thought leaders including Jane Reusch, MD, President of the Board of Directors, American Diabetes Association; Elena Rios, MD, MSPH, President and CEO, National Hispanic Medical Association; and Fran Kaufman, MD, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Medtronic.

Watson Health is a business unit of IBM that is dedicated to the development and implementation of AI and data-driven technologies to advance health. Watson Health technologies are tackling a wide range of the world’s biggest healthcare challenges including cancer, diabetes, drug discovery and more. Learn more at



About Shakthi

I am a Tech Blogger, Disability Activist, Keynote Speaker, Startup Mentor and Digital Branding Consultant. Also a McKinsey Executive Panel Member. Also known as @v_shakthi on twitter. Been around Tech for two decades now.

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