IBM Enlists Watson Ahead Of Pentagon Health Solictation

Kathleen Miller | Bloomberg | April 24, 2014

International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) will add technology from its Watson supercomputer, known for beating humans on “Jeopardy!,” to its federal health unit before the Pentagon seeks bids on a $11 billion health-records project.

The world’s biggest computer services provider also is hiring Keith Salzman, a former chief medical information officer at the Army hospital in Tacoma, Washington, where the Pentagon plans to test the new health records project, for its U.S. federal team. Salzman will become the division’s chief medical officer, IBM said in a news release today.

IBM, whose U.S. agency contracts have slipped over the past two years, is making the changes as companies prepare to compete to deliver a new electronic medical-records system for the Defense Department. The lifecycle cost of the project may be as much as $11 billion, Jonathan Woodson, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, said in testimony before a U.S. House appropriations subcommittee this month.