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Finland and IBM to Develop Personalized Healthcare with Watson

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Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation, and IBM have announced a partnership that will enable Finland to use Watson cognitive computing to help doctors improve the health of its citizens, and strengthen and develop the Finnish innovation and business ecosystem in the fields of health and well-being. To facilitate the collaboration, IBM intends to establish a Watson Health Center of Excellence in Finland, the first Nordic Healthcare Competence Center, and the first National Imaging Center of Excellence outside the United States in Finland. These centers are expected to employ 150 people over the next few years.

Tekes anticipates this collaboration with IBM will create data-driven cognitive computing applications and solutions and it will lead to an expansion and growth of Finland's business and innovation ecosystem. Specifically, Tekes expects the partnership to accelerate creation of new start-up companies in Finland, gain new opportunities for Finland companies for global growth, and help to digitalize the country's healthcare business sector for companies of all sizes.

“The combination of world-leading information and communications technology competences with health and well-being solutions are already creating world-leading health-tech innovations in Finland. In Finland, the close collaboration among health-tech companies, top-notch researchers and world-class hospitals has created a strong health eco-system, called the ‘Health Valley’,” said Pekka Soini, director general, Tekes. “I am positive that Watson cognitive computing capabilities will further boost innovation in Finland and put Finland at the forefront of game-changing health transformation, at the European level and in the global marketplace. Foremost, we believe the collaboration will benefit both IBM and Finland, and the development work conducted in Finland will further advance Watson's capabilities.”

Finnish doctors and researchers will work with Watson Health data scientists, engineers, researchers and designers to develop a new generation of data-driven healthcare applications and solutions, advancing R&D and innovation in Finland.

Central Finland's Regional Governor Tapani Mattila remarked, “In Central Finland there are several health related competence centers that would benefit from deployment of IBM Watson cognitive computing. We see this as an excellent opportunity to contribute to the common good for the region and the nation.”

The Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS) is planning to work with Watson Health and employ cognitive computing to aid in the early identification of serious bacterial infections in prematurely born babies and to bolster imaging of cerebral hemorrhage patients. HUS is also evaluating Watson Health and employing cognitive computing to aid physicians in providing patients with personalized cancer care.

IBM anticipates that its new Centers will use the Watson Health Cloud, a health-data enabled, platform-as-a-service, to provide the foundation for cognitive offerings designed to help enable individualized insights and provide a more complete picture of the many factors that can affect people’s health. This will be done in compliance with any operational and security requirements for Finnish health data and data reservoirs.

“Finland was selected as a destination country to implement various Watson Health capabilities, including the Watson Health Cloud, based on the country's vision to restructure and digitalize its healthcare system, its tech-savvy citizens and mobile capabilities, and a social environment that supports a culture of health,” said Deborah DiSanzo, general manager, IBM Watson Health. “The Tekes-IBM Watson Health partnership makes Finland a forerunner in health globally with Finnish citizens at the center as the ultimate beneficiaries. We are honored to work together to improve lives around the world.” 




Edited by Alicia Young
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