Health IT

IBM Watson Health chief leaves role

Deborah DiSanzo, who has served as general manager of IBM Watson Health since 2015, is stepping down from her position and heading to the strategy team for IBM Cognitive Solutions, according to STAT.

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Deborah DiSanzo, who has served as general manager of IBM Watson Health for three years, is stepping down from her post, STAT reported.

The circumstances surrounding her departure were unclear, according to the report.

John Kelly, senior vice president of Cognitive Solutions and IBM Research, will take over her role in an acting capacity.

DiSanzo, who previously led Philips Healthcare, is now heading to the strategy team for IBM Cognitive Solutions.

Via email, an IBM spokeswoman confirmed DiSanzo’s move and said that “John Kelly will continue leading Watson Health as we continue to grow and scale this successful business.”

Despite plenty of original hype around the company’s use of artificial intelligence to tackle health challenges, IBM Watson Health has landed in hot water. A STAT investigation from last fall detailed how the supercomputer isn’t living up to the expectations IBM set up for it.

Additionally, in a 2017 interview with MedCity, a former IBM employee who worked in the company’s life sciences group explained that even though marketing budgets were large, the talk never materialized into a tangible off-the-shelf product.

In the article published last September, the employee said he has heard dissatisfaction from his former colleagues.

“There’s a lot of frustration there. A lot of infighting and a lot of power jockeying and a lot of politics going on,” he said at the time. “So people are getting fed up and leaving left and right.” He mentioned four people have reached out to him to see if they could get a job at his new employer.

This summer, IBM verified a round of layoffs impacted its Watson Health unit.

Photo: Martin Barraud, Getty Images