Hackensack Meridian Health Takes on Cancer Care with New Tech Partnership

June 5, 2017
New Jersey-based Hackensack Meridian Health is collaborating with IBM Watson and health data company Cota with the end goal of helping oncologists make evidence- and outcomes-based clinical decisions for their cancer patients.

New Jersey-based Hackensack Meridian Health is collaborating with IBM Watson and health data company Cota with the end goal of helping oncologists make evidence- and outcomes-based clinical decisions for their cancer patients.

Officials said in an announcement that the idea is to bring Cota's value-based care and real-world data into IBM's Watson for Oncology clinical decision support tool, which Hackensack Meridian Health oncologists will then use in a pilot to help inform patient care.

The Hackensack Meridian Health pilot will be rolled out to an initial group of 10 oncologists and will be available to as many as 500 patients now through the end of October. Watson for Oncology will be used by oncologists to help identify and rank treatment options, providing links to supporting evidence, empowering oncologists with unparalleled insights as they consider the right course for their patient, officials noted.

What’s more, the New York City-based 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. In the second phase of the pilot, evidence-based treatment recommendations and care paths in Watson will include insights on bundled payment assignments, officials stated.

The combined use of Watson for Oncology and Cota real-world evidence aims to present treatment recommendations alongside insights on real-world outcomes to the oncologist at the point of care. Cota provides real-world evidence along with cancer cohort analytics incorporating efficacy, toxicity, and cost data, via the Cota Nodal Address (CNA), a patented real-world data classification system that groups patients into clinically meaningful cohorts. And, IBM's Watson for Oncology provides oncologists with personalized, evidence-based decision support, combining attributes from a patient's electronic medical record (EMR) with clinical guidelines, medical literature and expertise from training with Memorial Sloan Kettering.

“Hackensack Meridian Health is excited to expand our existing partnership with Cota by incorporating the deep insights Watson for Oncology has to offer," Robert Garrett, co-CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health, said in a statement. "We pride ourselves on our ability to provide patients with cutting edge care and this pilot will help us achieve that mission while also reducing the total cost of care and getting us closer to value-based care trends, like bundled payments. Our collaboration with IBM and Cota will allow us to do just that, while furthering our commitment to innovation and stretching the limits of healthcare."

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