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A number of years ago, IBM Canada was involved in a FOAK (first of a kind) project that matched our data scientists to academic thought leaders at a local university to a local children’s hospital.  This project was groundbreaking and was the kick off of many subsequent projects in healthcare to leverage computers and analytics at a higher level to help serve the needs of patients and healthcare practitioners.

Here is a brief video to describe the IBM / UOIT / Hospital for Sick Children FOAK project.

Some of us refer to this project as the “eBaby” project.  While time has past, it is still considered a remarkable undertaking that moved the state of the art in healthcare forward.  The use of compute technology and the unification of the data to a standard protocol shifted the level of care from reactive towards proactive.  Now, we are seeing new projects continue to progress this innovative thinking further and to extend the realm of where and how this strategy can be used and deployed to help make healthcare better.

As a follow on to the Canadian project, we now see that the McLaren Formula 1 Team’s data scientists have a similar project underway in the UK.   McLaren has expanded the thinking and enhanced the strategy with their immense expertise gained from their car racing experiences.  Here is short talk from the 2013 TEDx talk in Nijmegan, Netherlands by McLaren’s Peter vanManen.  McLaren should be commended for their success.  What is particularly fascinating is the bridging of data science from one domain to another, from F1 car racing to neonatal care.  Awesome work.  You can watch vanManen’s wonderful TEDx talk below:

At IBM, we continue on this healthcare path with our next generation computational platform built upon our cognitive computing engine called, Watson.  This strategy is again breaking new ground and advancing the level of care and dramatically shortening the time to address chronic problems for patients.  The envelope of care is changing forever in healthcare because of these innovative compute solutions.  With Watson Healthcare, IBM is now expanding its focus to other world medical challenges.  Problems like cancer, coma, heart conditions, drug management, and much more.  Here is a video that describes how IBM’s Watson works:

As the baby boomer demographic cohort moves forward and ages, the need for superior geriatric healthcare will be essential.  Watson is helping to remedy these issues.  Technology is driving us forward in many new and different directions.  Data science is the underpinning of all of this progress.  Understanding the data and making sense of it will be critical since there will be so much data that it will become overwhelming unless we discover ways to use it to make quality decisions for action.  Data visualization using augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) will make use of the emerging Internet of Things (IoT) is the next step.


Making sense of complex data in real-time will drive healthcare actions to better serve patient needs, whether it is a new born baby or an aging baby boomer, universal levels of healthcare will be greatly enhanced with computers and data science.


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About the Author:

Michael Martin has more than 35 years of experience in broadband networks, optical fibre, wireless and digital communications technologies. He is a Senior Executive Consultant with IBM Canada’s GTS Network Services Group. Over the past 11 years with IBM, he has worked in the GBS Global Center of Competency for Energy and Utilities and the GTS Global Center of Excellence for Energy and Utilities. He was previously a founding partner and President of MICAN Communications and before that was President of Comlink Systems Limited and Ensat Broadcast Services, Inc., both divisions of Cygnal Technologies Corporation (CYN:TSX). Martin currently serves on the Board of Directors for TeraGo Inc (TGO:TSX) and previously served on the Board of Directors for Avante Logixx Inc. (XX:TSX.V).  He served on the Board of Governors of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) and on the Board of Advisers of four different Colleges in Ontario as well as for 16 years on the Board of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), Toronto Section.  He holds three Masters level degrees, in business (MBA), communication (MA), and education (MEd). As well, he has diplomas and certifications in business, computer programming, internetworking, project management, media, photography, and communication technology.