Arthritis Research UK Introduces IBM Watson-Powered 'Virtual Assistant' to Provide Information and Advice to People with Arthritis

IBMArthritis Research UK and IBM (NYSE: IBM) have announced the development of a Watson-powered 'virtual personal assistant' to provide information and advice to people living with arthritis. The charity has teamed up with IBM to ensure people seeking help will have access to personalised information from the Arthritis Research UK website, delivered in a form that feels like a natural conversation. The service will be accessible on mobile phones and computers, without the need to download an app. There are currently 300 people with arthritis helping Arthritis Research UK to test and feedback before it is launched publicly on the charity’s website later this year.

For the millions of people living with the lifelong impact of all kinds of arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions, finding an answer to questions about their condition can be a challenge. Arthritis affects people in different ways, so for some turning to the internet and sorting through pages of conflicting advice can be daunting and confusing. Every year, Arthritis Research UK's website receives thousands of personal questions about the impact arthritis has on day to day life, symptoms and treatment options.

By tapping into IBM's Watson Conversation API, the charity has found an innovative way for people with arthritis to quickly and easily get answers to questions as soon as it pops into their head - no matter where they are or the time of day. This new service will mean that for the first time Arthritis Research UK will be able to provide every person in the UK seeking information about arthritis, immediate access to the best and most accurate information tailored to them. It will be supported by the charity’s information and enquiries line, where a team will be on hand to help answer detailed or complex questions.

Liam O'Toole, Chief Executive Officer at Arthritis Research UK, said: "We know that there are millions of people in the UK living with arthritis whose lives are severely limited as they struggle with unanswered questions. We want to ensure that everyone has access to information and support, whenever and wherever they need it.

"We're really excited to be working with IBM Watson on this innovative new service that will enable us to have conversations with anyone seeking help, that we simply wouldn't be able to answer so quickly otherwise. We're confident that this new virtual assistant will help more people push back the ways arthritis limits their lives."

The digital personal assistant was developed over five months using the charity’s 80 years of research based knowledge and expertise as well as advice from health care professionals, people with arthritis and IBM Watson cognitive computing experts. Over 350 people with arthritis have been involved during this time, to help develop, test and improve the tool. Initially, the service will be able to provide general information about arthritis and exercise that people can print out or save online.

In time, this knowledge base will grow to enable Arthritis Research UK to answer more questions - including those around diet and treatment options. As IBM Watson learns from each interaction, it will refine the information that is surfaced. Following this, Arthritis Research UK plans to leverage Watson cognitive voice input/output and location services to extend its capabilities, for example to understand questions delivered via speech (versus typed via a keyboard).

"Arthritis Research UK developed the Watson-powered digital personal assistant themselves, providing a terrific example of how IBM's open, cloud-based Watson development platform is making cognitive computing broadly accessible to organizations and individuals worldwide," said Cameron Brooks, IBM European Director for Watson in the Public Sector. "Further, Arthritis Research UK’s use of Watson APIs is a model for organizations thinking about how they might integrate cognitive computing into their services in order to positively impact the lives of people living with a serious health condition."

About Arthritis Research UK
Arthritis Research UK is the charity committed to ensuring people with arthritis are in control of their condition. We invest in breakthrough treatments, the best information and vital support for everyone affected by arthritis. We believe that by harnessing the power of exceptional science we can overcome the pain, isolation and fatigue arthritis causes, making everyday life better for all people with arthritis in the UK.

About IBM Watson Health
Watson is the first commercially available cognitive computing capability representing a new era in computing. The system, delivered through the cloud, analyzes high volumes of data, understands complex questions posed in natural language, and proposes evidence-based answers. Watson continuously learns, gaining in value and knowledge over time, from previous interactions. In April 2015, the company launched IBM Watson Health and the Watson Health Cloud platform. The new unit helps improve the ability of doctors, researchers and insurers to innovate by surfacing insights from the massive amount of personal health data being created and shared daily. The Watson Health Cloud can mask patient identities and allow for information to be shared and combined with a dynamic and constantly growing aggregated view of clinical, research and social health data.

Most Popular Now

Augmented Reality Visor to Dramatically …

Employing new photonics technology, European scientists are developing a new Augmented Reality surgical visor in a bid to improve accuracy of interventions, showing anaesthetic and medical data while superimposing a...

Read more

Interactive Health Apps May Inspire Heal…

Just like real doctors and nurses, online health tools with good - but controlled - communication skills can promote healthier lifestyles, according to researchers. However, if their tone is conversational...

Read more

Call for Papers: EHB 2017 - IEEE Interna…

22 - 24 June 2017, Sinaia, Romania. The 6-th edition of the International Conference on e-Health and Bioengineering, EHB 2017, will take place in the city of Sinaia, Romania. This year...

Read more

UK and Italian Health Tech Firms to Help…

Data sharing ambitions set out in newly published sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) have been given a boost by a new strategic partnership between data management specialist Stalis and Italy's...

Read more

From Health Apps to Nursing Robots - A G…

25 - 27 April 2017, Berlin, Germany. Around the world the subject of e-Health is steadily gaining in importance, whether it involves electronic patient files, online video consultations or any of...

Read more

Philips Teams Up with German Startup One…

Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA), a global leader in health technology, today announced a partnership agreement with German digital health company Onelife Health to jointly develop innovative connected health...

Read more

EU eHealth Competition 2017

The eHealth Competition is an initiative that rewards the best eHealth / mHealth solutions produced by European SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises). Its objective is to support business success of...

Read more

Philips and LabPON Plan to Create World…

Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) and LabPON, the first clinical laboratory to transition to 100% histopathology digital diagnosis, have announced its plans to create a digital database of massive...

Read more

Virtual Reality Cognitive Training Game …

Greek researchers demonstrated the potential of a self-administered virtual supermarket cognitive training game for remotely detecting mild cognitive impairment (MCI), without the need for an examiner, among a sample of...

Read more

Technology Boost for Health and Social C…

Health and social care organisations aiming to be fully compliant with the government’s Personalised Health and Care 2020 plan, can now access electronic health record (EHR) and healthcare integration technologies...

Read more

Agfa HealthCare's Health Management Pla…

Agfa HealthCare announces today that its health management platform, including the XERO universal image viewer, has been selected to support the joint Radiotherapy Treatment Project of the Saolta University Health...

Read more

Philips Introduces Advanced Radiology So…

Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA), a global leader in health technology, has unveiled new advanced radiology solutions at the 2017 European Congress of Radiology (ECR). In response to today's...

Read more
(HEALTH IT) SPACE - Take a look at who has just Joined