Reflections on the IBM Watson Asia-Pacific New Venture Challenge

Above: mClinica’s Software Team Lead Jake Josol (right) and CFO Jon Lin (center) with Tim Greisinger, Managing Director of IBM Singapore. 
Last month, we had the pleasure and privilege of presenting at the IBM Watson Asia-Pacific New Venture Challenge in Singapore. Of the numerous applicants and 25 final contenders who took to the stage that day, we’re honored to have been selected as a winner.
As a healthcare technology company, we already have proprietary technologies that support our patient programs and data collection efforts. We entered the competition to learn more about IBM Watson Ecosystem, which offers a breadth of APIs and a wide network of industry experts that have relevance for our current work. This includes APIs for cross-referencing link data, natural language processing, and other functionalities that might complement our in-house capabilities in these areas.
At the competition, we presented a potential use-case of Watson APIs to our current work—decision support tools for pharmacists to prevent prescribing errors and drug-drug interactions. We already manage patient programs through our digital pharmacy networks, which span multiple countries and thousands of pharmacies across Southeast Asia. During the six-week competition period, we examined how Watson APIs could allow us to leverage this network to add new capabilities that improve patient health outcomes.
To achieve the aim of eliminating prescribing errors and drug-drug interactions, we considered using Watson APIs to analyze our vast prescription databases, which provide actionable information on pharmaceutical supply chains, patient demographics, prescribing patterns, and epidemiological trends. These datasets, when cross-referenced with relevant medical literature, can help flag prescriptions that contain potentially dangerous combinations of medicines and alert pharmacists to the risk.
We are thankful to IBM for the opportunity to present our work and explore synergies with the Watson Ecosystem. The experience helped us consider new ways to draw value from our proprietary datasets and digital pharmacy networks.

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