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

Researchers Apply Computing Power to Tra…

Princeton researchers have developed a new computational method that increases the ability to track the spread of cancer cells from one part of the body to another. This migration of...

Philips Powers First Tele-Intensive Care…

Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA), a global leader in health technology, and Japan-based Showa University announced the launch of Japan's first telemedicine intensive care (eICU) program at Showa University...

Open Call SC1-DTH-10-2019-2020: Digital …

Digital solutions supporting a continuum of care across a range of health and care services can relieve the pressure on governments to provide more cost-effective health and care systems by...

AI and Radar Technologies could Help Dia…

People with diabetes could be able to monitor their blood sugar without drawing blood using a system now being developed at the University of Waterloo. In a recent study, researchers...

Bad Habits that Lead to Cancer, Chronic …

Does this sound like someone you know? He or she spends too much time in front of screens, gets little exercise and eats a diet high in fat and low...

Private Healthcare Data to be Captured b…

An initiative has been launched to ensure private healthcare data is recorded in the same way as NHS data in England, with the aim of improving consistency across the system...

Research Finds Three Major Failings in s…

In the scramble to bring successful apps for the diagnosis of skin cancer to market there is a concern that a lack of testing is risking public safety, according to...

New Tissue-Imaging Technology could Enab…

A new microscope system can image living tissue in real time and in molecular detail, without any chemicals or dyes, report researchers at the University of Illinois. The system uses...

New Technology Helps to Improve Treatmen…

A new web-based "feedback" technology which allows therapists to accurately monitor how patients with depression are coping has been found to reduce the probability of deterioration during psychological treatment by...

Rapid Zika Detection Test Uses Smartphon…

The Zika virus, which continues to cause microcephaly and other neurological complications in infants whose mothers were infected during pregnancy, remains a public health concern. Investigators from Brigham and Women's...

AAL Market and Investment Report

The AAL Market and Investment Report was commissioned by the Ambient Assisted Living Association and aims to provide a consolidated view of the existing market and investment information in Europe...