Data are the unsung heroes of the AI revolution.  At IBM Watson Health, we recognize the critical role that data plays as the central building blocks of health information technologies and have invested heavily in not only the databases, tools and analytics for sourcing data, but also the scientific research needed to apply it to some of the biggest challenges in population health and healthcare today.

We’re only half way through the year and have already seen exciting scientific advancements throughout the medical community using real-world data – such as new studies presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting that reveal unprecedented improvement in 5-year overall survival in certain types of advanced non-small-cell lung cancer ( Garon EB et al. ASCO 2019), novel targeted therapy options for rare cancer types ( ASCO Press Release 1/31/19), and “big data” analytics studies to derive insights into cancer care disparities in the United States ( Adamson BJS et al. ASCO 2019). 

These results generate tremendous excitement and seemingly change the oncology conversation overnight.  As a scientist and clinician, the most gratifying aspect of these breakthroughs is the knowledge that they are based on rigorous scientific methods, helping ensure these advancements provide reliable insights for researchers, oncologists and their cancer patients. 

These are foundational observations that are only possible with real-world data, powerful analytics, and rigorous scientific research – all of which are areas that IBM has pioneered for the last 110 years and continues to drive as we head into the AI-enabled future. 

Individually, many of these studies may look like incremental steps forward in the continued march of science. Taken together, within the larger context of IBM’s ambitious mission in healthcare, they become critical building blocks to our better understanding the full spectrum of healthcare and offer a starting point for how to improve it. Our clinical leadership team is excited to share more updates next quarter about this important, growing body of science.