Novo Nordisk has announced that it will team up with IBM to use the firm’s Watson computing system in diabetes research. 

Watson is able to process large amounts of data to uncover patterns and insights, understand questions posed in natural language, propose evidence-based answers, and learn from each interaction. The two companies will use it to explore possibilities for improved diabetes care via insights from real-time, real-world evidence of Novo Nordisk diabetes treatments and devices.

This could include giving treatment advice on insulin dosage by analysing blood sugar levels, food intake and exercise from health devices that are connected to the internet.

“Working with ambitious partners like IBM Watson Health helps us explore the opportunities presented by an increasingly digitalised healthcare system,” says Jakob Riis, executive vice president of Novo Nordisk. “We aim to leverage our combined capabilities to improve the lives of people with diabetes by making the management of the condition more simple, effective and measurable.”

Novo is not the first health company to take advantage of Watson – the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is harnessing the system to develop tools to diagnose and treat cancer, and Johnson & Johnson are using it to develop tools to help people who have had knee-replacement surgery.