Elekta strikes deal to build IBM Watson into cancer care software

Elekta's Mosaiq software. (Image: Elekta)

Elekta is working to incorporate Watson for Oncology into its cancer care software. The agreement with IBM clears Elekta to start offering the artificial intelligence technology alongside its oncology information system.

Stockholm-based Elekta’s business includes an oncology informatics unit that sells Mosaiq software. The offering is designed to help healthcare professionals manage radiation care programs by centralizing information and providing users with image, data and workflow management. Elekta thinks Watson for Oncology will complement these capabilities by providing clinical decision support.

“Joining forces with IBM Watson Health positions Elekta as the first radiation therapy company to offer capabilities that combine conventional health information systems with artificial intelligence and cognitive cloud computing,” Elekta CEO Richard Hausmann said in a statement. 

“Our goal is to bring cutting edge artificial intelligence technology to the cancer care continuum, including treatment planning, enabling evidence-based treatment recommendations for every patient regardless of where they are treated.”

For IBM, the agreement gives it another way to get Watson into healthcare settings. The oncology offering is now in more than 150 hospitals, according to IBM. Uptake needs to increase to justify the decision to make health a key driver of future growth at the company. Elekta, which claims to hold close to 50% of the market for oncology-specific EMRs, could help in that regard.

Elakta plans to start selling Watson for Oncology imminently. That will lead to Watson being put in front of doctors in the U.S., Australia, Brazil, India and some major European markets. Elekta and IBM hope the support software will help healthcare professionals in these markets access the latest thinking on cancer care, although the system’s reliance on input from doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center leaves scope for doubt about its applicability to hospitals in some of these markets.