IBM Launches Watson Health Cloud, Partners With Apple to Support HealthKit and ResearchKit Apps

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Apple partner IBM today announced the launch of Watson Health Cloud, designed to offer physicians, researchers, insurers and health-related companies a secure and open platform for storing health-related data. The platform facilitates the secure sharing of data from multiple types of input, from personal fitness trackers to connected medical devices to doctor-created medical records.

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The future of health is all about the individual. With the increasing prevalence of personal fitness trackers, connected medical devices, implantables and other sensors that collect real-time information, the average person is likely to generate more than one million gigabytes of health-related data in their lifetime (the equivalent of more than 300 million books).

However, it is difficult to connect these dynamic and constantly growing pools of information with more traditional sources such as doctor-created medical records, clinical research and individual genomes --- data sets that are fragmented and not easily shared. A highly scalable and secure global information platform is essential to pull out individualized insights to help people and providers make timely, evidence-based decisions about health-related issues.

IBM is expanding its partnership with Apple with IBM Watson Health Cloud to offer a secure cloud platform and analytics services for HealthKit and ResearchKit apps. It will store data entered by customers into iOS apps and give medical researchers a data storage solution that also includes "sophisticated data analytics capabilities."

IBM and Apple will expand their ground-breaking partnership to apply cloud services and analytics to HealthKit and ResearchKit, and iOS devices. IBM will provide a secure research capability on the Watson Health Cloud platform, anonymizing personal data to allow researchers to easily store, aggregate and model information collected from iOS users who opt-in contribute personal data to medical research.

IBM and Apple first partnered up last summer to boost both companies' enterprise sales. Under the partnership, IBM is selling iOS devices to corporate customers and creating a wide range of enterprise-focused apps tailored to industries like retail, healthcare, banking, travel, transportation, and more.

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67 months ago
As someone who works in healthcare analytics, all this attention recently around big data and analytics is exciting. More funding could certainly help to bring fresh eyes to health issues that could potentially have a positive impact on lives.

Having said that a word of caution - Analytics in this space is a funny thing. Recently one of the big insurance companies put out a national analytics report showing the cost of certain procedures across the country and how it varried by thousands of dollars from state to state. This could motivate medical tourism within country as folks looking to save money go to where the costs are the less expensive than where they are. However, this analysis did not include important factor, such as outcomes and malpractice rate. In other words, cheap is not the only factor and arguably not even the most important factor in a procedure. Sure we want to get things done at the lowest cost possible, but we should always make sure that we are getting things done at a quality facility that has a high success rate, low malpractice rate and low complication rate. That may drive the cost up a little, but when dealing with my life at least, I would be okay with a higher cost if it meant a better outcome for me.

Drugs are the same issue. We have read all to often about drugs that end up being pulled due to complications and side affects. Assuming it was not intentional on the part of the drug companie, it is clear that the testing and analytics is not finding the issues.

So, I hope this goes well for the new organization and they are able to bring a gravitas to healthcare and truly find a way to influence lives for the better.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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67 months ago
Well whad'ya know... Two tech companies working together..
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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