Hackensack Meridian Health to Pilot Combined Watson for Oncology and Cota Technology to Power Value-Based Clinical Decision Support in Cancer Care


IBM Watson Health, Cota and Hackensack Meridian Health have joined together to help oncologists make evidence- and outcomes-based clinical decisions for their cancer patients, which could reduce total cost of care.

IBM Watson Health (NYSE: IBM), Cota, and Hackensack Meridian Health, an integrated healthcare system in New Jersey, today announced a collaboration to pilot a combination of IBM Watson and Cota technology for the first time. The goal 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 goal is ultimately to help oncologists make evidence- and outcomes-based clinical decisions for their cancer patients, which could reduce total cost of care.

"Hackensack Meridian Health is excited to expand our existing partnership with Cota by incorporating the deep insights Watson for Oncology has to offer," said Robert Garrett, co-CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health. "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 health 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. 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.

"With the transition to value-based care, health systems are under increased pressure to provide accountable, high-quality care while keeping costs low. But clinicians lack the resources that can help them identify optimal treatment options at the point of care, limiting their ability to achieve value," said Andrew Pecora, MD, founder and executive chairman of Cota and chief innovations officer of Hackensack Meridian Health. "The combined insights possible from Cota and Watson for Oncology fills this void, creating the market's only solution that presents real-world outcomes to decision-makers when they need to make decisions. Providers like Hackensack Meridian Health will now have the necessary tools to achieve the highest possible performance under all types of value-based models and cutting edge cancer care."

"An increasing body of clinical evidence supports the value of Watson for Oncology to help democratize access to quality, evidence-based treatment, bringing the world's leading expertise to doctors all over the world," said Rob Merkel, vice president and general manager of oncology and genomics, IBM Watson Health. "In today's environment and the shift toward bundled payment, care providers often need a combined view that helps them keep pace with not only the latest clinical evidence but also the value they can expect from a particular patient based on real world evidence and patient similarity analytics. Cota provides powerful new data-driven capabilities to help meet this need."

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. This is driven by the Cota Nodal Address™ (CNA), a patented real world data classification system that groups patients into clinically meaningful cohorts. IBM's Watson for Oncology provides oncologists with personalized, evidence-based decision support, combining attributes from a patient's electronic medical record with clinical guidelines, medical literature and expertise from training with Memorial Sloan Kettering.

Following the pilot, Hackensack Meridian Health expects to roll out the solution throughout its system, extending access to these tools to oncologists across its health network.

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