Deborah DiSanzo, former CEO of medical equipment manufacturer Philips Healthcare, has been appointed general manager of IBM Watson Health.
DiSanzo will lead more than 2,000 employees in the healthcare-focused arm of IBM's Watson cognitive computing division, from the health unit's new headquarters in Cambridge, Mass., a major base for the life sciences industry. She started her new role Thursday.
The Watson supercomputer can analyze high volumes of data and understand human language. The system continuously learns from its interactions with data over time and can propose evidence-based answers to complex questions.
IBM Watson Health was founded on April 25, and DiSanzo is the business unit's first general manager. She joins the unit after serving as CEO of Philips Healthcare, the subsidiary of Amsterdam-based Royal Philips that makes a variety of imaging and technology products.
DiSanzo will oversee a variety of healthcare-related partnerships that IBM Watson has recently taken on, including previously announced relationships with Johnson & Johnson, Medtronic, Epic, CVS Health, as well as agreements announced Thursday with Boston Children's Hospital, Columbia University Medical Center and Teva Pharmaceuticals, among others.
In April, IBM acquired Cleveland-based Explorys, a Cleveland Clinic spinoff that helps physicians dig deep into multiple sources of healthcare data, including the electronic-health record, to identify patient risk factors, track outcomes and evaluate treatment success. The company hopes to use the large dataset of Explorys' members in conjunction with Watson and its Health Cloud to provide further medical insights.
IBM also announced in August the expected acquisition of Chicago-based Merge Healthcare, a medical imaging technology company, which it hopes will help Watson analyze healthcare images.