IBM Launches Health Corps to Help Communities Around The World Address Public Health Challenges
Recently, at the 13th Annual World Health Care Congress, IBM (NYSE: IBM) unveiled a first-of-its-kind corporate citizenship program called the IBM Health Corps. The new service initiative will bring IBM’s top talent and cognitive technologies to help communities address health challenges such as primary care gaps, health worker shortages, and access to safe water and nutritious food.
As the promise of data-driven solutions emerges in healthcare, the initiative will dispatch the company's leading innovators with expertise in data, analytics, and artificial intelligence to work alongside public health leaders to understand their challenges and implement sustainable, data-driven solutions for health problems identified by the communities themselves.
IBM plans to pilot the Health Corps in a project with Unity Health Care in May. Based in Washington, D.C., Unity, one of the nation’s largest community health centers, provides primary care to more than 100,000 underserved residents through its 26 local clinics, including those based in schools and homeless shelters. As the health community increasingly recognizes the need to bridge the gap between siloed health care services, Unity plans to integrate behavioral health into its primary care practices. Unity believes that this could benefit individuals whose emotional or behavioral health issues exacerbate their other chronic diseases. Unity believes it may also lower emergency and long-term health expenses. The Health Corps team will be tasked with creating an operational blueprint for piloting and scaling a model for clinics that combines both primary and behavioral health care within each care team.
"We are thrilled to collaborate with IBM Health Corps to help us address our patients’ behavioral health needs,” said Seiji Hayashi, MD, MPH, FAAFP, Executive Vice President for Transformation and Innovation, Unity Health Care, Inc. “With their expertise in data analytics and population health capabilities, IBM’s support will catalyze our work and help us improve the quality of life for thousands of people in the D.C. community."
Later this year following a competitive proposal process, IBM will select five communities to receive the expertise of IBM's best problem solving teams equipped with relevant health and technical expertise in disciplines such as cognitive, cloud, mobile and social computing; predictive analytics; medicine and population health, who will analyze the local health challenges, then recommend detailed solutions. These might include blueprints and strategies for organizational, programmatic, technological, and operational enhancements. The commercial value of each engagement is estimated at USD $500,000.