IBM Watson Health’s Don Turner 14EMBA talks future of digital health

Changing technology affects every industry and healthcare is no exception.

In the most recent Health Futures Forum, Don Turner 14EMBA, the Global Head of Commercialization at IBM Watson Health, discussed the social impact and future of digital health.

“There are a lot of people like me at Watson who are really motivated,” Turner said. “The intent is to improve the human condition, and really solve profound issues and unmet needs in the industry.”

To help meet those needs, Turner said IBM Watson Health partners with a variety of organizations and companies to continuously advance digital health.

“The industry opportunity is so massive there’s a ton of room for everybody to play, everybody to make an impact and everybody to do really well,” Turner said. “If you took every company in the world and they worked perfectly together, it’s like Nirvana, right? Even if everybody did this, we couldn’t cure all the illnesses in the world. We couldn’t reach perfection. So, anything less than that means there’s great opportunity for everybody to make an impact.”

Turner explained how collaborations, even from the beginning, have lead to several of the company’s successes.

“When you see the highlights of some of the outcomes we’ve achieved, you’re going to see a notation of who we actually work with to do that,” Turner said. “You’re going to see we didn’t do it ourselves and that we did it with an industry partner. Collaboration is really significant for us. It’s a core part of our strategy.”

Digital health is constantly transforming and affects a variety of stakeholders from payers to providers and government agencies to researchers and consumers. Turner explained how Watson Health is continuing to explore a variety of areas in digital health including data analytics, artificial intelligence, cognitive insights, IoT, nanotechnology, automated decision support, personal genomics, preventative medicine, embedded sensors, smart clothing and more.

However, for Turner, the most important aspect to remember when it comes to digital health is taking advantage of the abundant opportunities.

“Just think about what’s happening, the opportunity, the transformation,” Turner said. “Put yourself in your own shoes in terms of what you’re motivated to do. Whether it be technological innovation, investing or contributing in one way or another, there’s an amazing opportunity to do some amazing things.”

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