Hackensack Meridian Health, Cota, and IBM Watson Announce Partnership

Trio will pilot program to leverage Watson's computational power to determine value-based treatment options for cancer patients.

New Jersey’s Hackensack Meridian Health today anounced that will be piloting a combination of Cota and IBM Watson for Oncology technologies to further value-based care for cancer patients.

Cota, which analyzes heaps of electronic health records for clinically relevant information in order to make value recommendations, has a pre-existing relationship with Hackensack Meridian Health. Watson will then be fed the information to help “identify and rank treatment options, providing links to supporting evidence,” as per a press release. Cota’s founder, Andrew Pecora, MD, is hopeful that expanding that to include Watson’s computing capabilities will someday help “fill the void” for clinicians currently lacking the resources to determine the best, most valuable treatment options for their patients.

The program will begin with a pilot stage that will run until the end of October, during which the technology will be available to 10 oncologists and up to 500 patients. “Cota will derive abstracted and benchmark data and embed patient classification into Watson for Oncology to analyze meaning and context from clinical notes, reports and key patient information within the context of treatment planning,” the release states.

The second phase of the program will feature “insights on bundled payment assignments,” and following the pilot period, Hackensack Meridian Health aims to expand the program to all of the oncologists within their network.

Rob Merkel, vice president and general manager of oncology and genomics at IBM Watson Health, says evidence is mounting that his company’s technology can “help democratize access to quality, evidence-based treatment, bringing the world's leading expertise to doctors all over the world." The constant imperative to provide better care and lower costs lends itself well to Watson’s unbiased analytics. The system will take into account the HER information derived from Cota and will pair it with recommendations from medical literature, clinical guidelines, and expert guidance from Memorial Sloan Kettering.

Previously, Cota’s Chief Medical Officer Stuart Goldberg sat down with HCA News to discuss his company’s approach to value-based care.