IBM taps Bausch + Lomb to develop new cataract surgery app

Bausch + Lomb's Andrew Chang

IBM ($IBM) and Bausch + Lomb are teaming up to develop a new app to help surgeons perform cataract surgeries. The move comes as IBM strikes more deals with life sciences and med tech companies to expand its market reach.

The companies' app will allow doctors to access patient data from an iPhone and iPad and store health-related data on IBM Cloud. Cataract surgeons will be able to access the information on digital display screens or walls in the operating room during surgery to facilitate procedures.

"When you consider the mobile solutions available today, and what we're able to do as consumers, we knew we identified an area of major need to help improve efficiencies for cataract surgeons and provide excellent surgical outcomes for their patients," Andrew Chang, Bausch + Lomb's senior VP of U.S. Surgical, told FierceMedicalDevices in an email. "The process for managing patient information today is still a manual process for many cataract surgeons, and with this app, surgeons will now have the ability to access each patient's surgical information in one place, receive intuitive feedback for IOL selection, and help improve future procedures while driving greater efficiencies in managing patient flow; an incredible benefit for practices."

The companies plan to kick off pilot testing for the new app with a small group of ophthalmologists in late 2016. Bausch + Lomb and IBM are shooting to launch the app shortly after the pilot, Chang said.

IBM is no stranger to artificial intelligence. The company is working on expanding its technology to life sciences, and is striking deals with key research organizations and pharma companies to broaden its market reach.

In February, IBM said it would work with the New York Genome Center to analyze genomic cancer tumor data. The information will be incorporated into patient medical records and used to guide treatment, the company said at the time.

Last month, IBM said that it would join forces with pharma giant Pfizer ($PFE) to develop a patient-centric monitoring system for Parkinson's disease. The system will use sensors, mobile devices and machine learning to give doctors real-time information about a patient's condition. The tool could also spur R&D by making it easier for scientists to understand disease progression, IBM and Pfizer said in a statement.

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