ARMONK, N.Y., April 13, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- To dramatically advance the quality and effectiveness of personal healthcare, IBM (NYSE: IBM) is establishing a Watson Health Cloud that will provide a secure and open platform for physicians, researchers, insurers and companies focused on health and wellness solutions. The HIPAA-enabled Watson Health Cloud will enable secure access to individualized insights and a more complete picture of the many factors that can affect people's health.
Extending the company's exclusive Watson cognitive computing platform, IBM is:
- Entering new partnerships with leading companies including Apple, Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic to help optimize consumer and medical devices for data collection, analysis and feedback.
- Acquiring Explorys and Phytel to advance its healthcare analytics capabilities.
- Establishing a dedicated business unit – IBM Watson Health, to be headquartered in the Boston, MA, area.
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.
"All this data can be overwhelming for providers and patients alike, but it also presents an unprecedented opportunity to transform the ways in which we manage our health," said John E. Kelly III, IBM senior vice president, solutions portfolio and research. "We need better ways to tap into and analyze all of this information in real-time to benefit patients and to improve wellness globally. Only IBM has the advanced cognitive capabilities of Watson and can pull together the vast ecosystem of partners, practitioners and researchers needed to drive change, as well as to provide the open, secure and scalable platform needed to make it all possible."
Capturing Real-time Data to Optimize Personalized Decision-making
IBM is collaborating with Apple, Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic to create new health-based offerings that leverage information collected from personal health, medical and fitness devices. The results will be better insights, real-time feedback and recommendations to improve everything from personal health and wellness to acute and chronic care. These relationships are non-exclusive, and IBM anticipates many more companies to leverage the Watson Health Cloud platform.
IBM and Apple will expand their partnership with IBM Watson Health Cloud to provide a secure cloud platform and analytics for Apple's HealthKit and ResearchKit. This will support health data entered by customers in iOS apps and also arm medical researchers with a secure, open data storage solution with access to IBM's most sophisticated data analytics capabilities
Johnson & Johnson will collaborate with IBM to create intelligent coaching systems centered on preoperative and postoperative patient care, including joint replacement and spinal surgery. Solutions will be mobile-based, accessing the Watson Health Cloud and leveraging IBM Watson's cognitive capabilities. Johnson & Johnson will also look to launch new health apps targeting chronic conditions, which currently cost consumers as much as 80 percent of the $7 trillion global healthcare spend. Medtronic will leverage the Watson Health Cloud insights platform to collaborate with IBM around delivery of new highly-personalized care management solutions for people with diabetes. The solutions will receive and analyze patient information and data from various Medtronic devices including insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors, and use this information to provide dynamic, personalized diabetes management strategies to patients and their providers.
Acquisitions Bolster Ability to Extract and Share Deep Insights
To complement its existing capabilities, IBM has reached agreement to acquire Cleveland-based Explorys and Dallas-based Phytel, two healthcare technology companies that are widely recognized for their leadership in applying Big Data and analytics to help improve the quality of health for individuals and large population groups.
A spin-off from the Cleveland Clinic in 2009, Explorys' secure cloud-computing platform is used by 26 major integrated healthcare systems to identify patterns in diseases, treatments and outcomes. It integrates more than 315 billion clinical, financial, and operational data elements, spanning 50 million unique patients, 360 hospitals, and more than 317,000 providers. Market intelligence firm IDC just named Explorys global leader in Healthcare Clinical and Financial Analysis.
Phytel develops and sells cloud-based services that help healthcare providers and care teams work together to ensure care is effective and coordinated in order to meet new healthcare quality requirements and reimbursement models. It was just named the leader in the population health management category by the 2014 Best in KLAS Awards: Software & Services.
The acquisitions bolster IBM's efforts to apply advanced analytics and cognitive computing to help primary care providers, large hospital systems and physician networks improve healthcare quality and effect healthier patient outcomes.
Terms were not disclosed for either deal.
Watson Health Unit and the Watson Health Cloud Build on Core IBM Strengths
Building on strengths in cognitive computing, analytics, security and cloud, the new Watson Health unit aims to dramatically improve the ability of doctors, researchers and insurers to innovate by surfacing new insights from the massive amount of personal health data being created daily.
The Watson Health Cloud platform allows this information to be anonymized, shared and combined with a dynamic and constantly-growing aggregated view of clinical, research and social health data. IBM and its vast ecosystem of clients, partners and medical researchers can surface new connections between these diverse and previously siloed healthcare data sets, and spur the creation of a new generation of data-driven applications and solutions designed to advance health and wellness. Individual patients and larger health populations alike will benefit as providers share and apply those insights in real-time to drive better, faster and less expensive treatments.
The medical community is one of the earliest adopters of Watson cognitive computing technology, where IBM has collaborated with leading hospitals and research institutes including Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, the Cleveland Clinic, the Mayo Clinic and the New York Genome Center to advance Watson's healthcare capabilities and to help transform how medicine is taught, researched and practiced.
Innovative partners including Welltok, Modernizing Medicine, Pathway Genomics and GenieMD are already using Watson's cognitive computing capabilities, giving rise to a whole new breed of health apps that are redefining how individuals and organizations think about personal health management. Cognitive computing systems learn and interact naturally with people to extend what either humans or machine could do on their own. They help human experts make better decisions by penetrating the complexity of Big Data.
"Watson Health builds on years of collaborative relationships with leaders across the healthcare ecosystem," said Michael Rhodin, senior vice president, IBM Watson. "The groundbreaking applications of Watson's cognitive computing capabilities by medical clients and partners clearly demonstrated the potential to fundamentally change the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare delivery worldwide. We're excited to broaden access to world-class technology and to work with our partners to transform health and wellness for millions of people."
IBM will open a headquarters location for the new unit in the Boston area and expand its Watson presence in New York City. It will dedicate at least 2000 consultants, medical practitioners, clinicians, developers and researchers to design, develop and accelerate the adoption of Watson Health capabilities. The new unit will include IBM's existing Smarter Care and Social Programs practice, which was created three years ago following the acquisition of Curam Software, a leading provider of health and social program management solutions.
IBM has received more than 1300 patents in healthcare, life sciences and medical devices. Its invention of the excimer laser used for LASIK surgery was awarded the National Medal of Technology in 2011, and Blue Gene, the first supercomputer to successfully model protein-folding, received the award in 2009.
Representative Members of the Watson Health Ecosystem
Apple Inc (Cupertino, CA) 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.
Johnson & Johnson (New Brunswick, NJ) will partner with IBM to create intelligent coaching systems centered on preoperative and postoperative patient care, including joint replacement and spinal surgery. Solutions will be mobile-based, accessing the Watson Health Cloud and leveraging IBM Watson's cognitive capabilities. J&J will also look to launch new health apps targeting chronic conditions, which currently cost consumers as much as 80 percent of the $7 trillion global healthcare spend.
Medtronic (Dublin, Ireland) will leverage the Watson Health Cloud insights platform to collaborate with IBM around delivery of new highly-personalized care management solutions for people with diabetes. The system will receive and analyze patient information and data from various devices including insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors, and use this information to provide dynamic, personalized diabetes management strategies to patients and their providers.
Welltok (Denver, CO) was IBM's first direct investment from the recently formed Watson Group, and supports its partnership with Welltok to build CaféWell Concierge, a new application infused with Watson's cognitive computing capabilities. Welltok's app will call upon Watson's unique ability to uncover insights from Big Data by understanding the complexities of human language, reading millions of pages of data within seconds and improving its own performance by learning. The investment is helping develop the new CaféWell Concierge product line, powered by IBM Watson, to address consumers' questions about their health conditions and activities through personalized dialogue and guide them via Intelligent Health Itineraries.
Pathway Genomics (San Diego, CA) was the second direct investment in a healthcare partner. Pathway is aiming to revolutionize the health and wellness industry by leveraging the natural language processing and cognitive capabilities of Watson. For the first time consumers will be able to ask the Pathway Panorama app questions to gain insights and options powered by the cognitive intellect of Watson, based on their own wellness-related genes, wearable data, and other related wellness information, like emotional, physical and social well-being. The new mobile app is designed to call upon Watson's unique ability to uncover insights from Big Data by understanding the complexities of human language, referencing millions of pages of healthcare data from medical journals and clinic trial data within seconds.
Modernizing Medicine (Boca Raton, FL) was the third direct investment in a healthcare partner. The funding from IBM will help Modernizing Medicine accelerate market expansion in eight medical specialties, as well as enhance and expand its suite of solutions. This includes further development of schEMA, the company's mobile app that leverages the cognitive computing power of Watson to give physicians rapid clinical decision support at the point of care. Available first in dermatology with future development planned for other medical specialties, schEMA allows dermatologists to ask questions in natural language about possible symptoms and treatments, and within seconds receive an informed, evidence-based response – all without leaving the exam room. This is made possible by Watson's ability to quickly query and identify relevant information contained in thousands of medical journals, research studies and other documents.
GenieMD (Pleasanton, CA) is using Watson's cognitive intellect and data analysis to understand an individual's personal health profile and asks Watson questions for the user so they don't have to in times of concern. Fueled by IBM Watson technology, the GenieMD mobile app allows users to be more informed about their health conditions and conditions of their loved ones, have access to the latest relevant information and receive targeted and specific health tips from GenieMD. Users simply ask GenieMD questions in natural language which then analyzes volumes of data to offer personalized recommendations based on an individual's profile. For example, the GenieMD mobile app analyzes a person's profile and sends push notifications to the user with information on how to manage their diabetes or how to prevent hypertension. GenieMD is a Watson Mobile Developer Challenge winner.
@Point of Care (Livingston, NJ), is a physician-facing mobile app that is successfully using Watson's cognitive computing technology to understand questions posed in natural language and find relevant clinical information about Multiple Sclerosis (MS) within resource libraries quickly and with a high degree of accuracy. The mobile app is helping the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America enable MS patients to better track and manage their symptoms easily from any device and will be rolled out across @Point of Care's 15 other therapeutic areas.
Geppetto Avatars (Mequon, WI) has created an Intelligent Digital Avatar platform (IDA) for Healthcare. Their first product is remote monitoring for Elder Care. Nurse Sophie is the IDA that provides a daily quality of life assessment to monitor activity, medication, mood, pain, sleep, and nutrition. Nurse Sophie utilizes Watson to analyze thousands of questions and evidence-based resources to answer questions about health issues. (B2B2C)
ImplementHIT (Dallas, New York) is infusing Watson's cognitive computing capabilities into the company's OptimizeHIT mobile training platform for healthcare professionals. A new option, called, "Ask Watson", will allow healthcare organizations to make natural language queries across unstructured data and training materials to reinforce/reactivate training and improve productivity. Watson responds to a natural language query based upon the IHIT content ingested (ICD10 & E/M Coding) and the individual's personal role.
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