IBM has unveiled the Watson Health Cloud to serve as a platform for data and insights on health and wellness issues as part of the company’s efforts to expand computing functions in the health sector.
The company said Monday it also pursued industry partnerships and acquisitions alongside the creation of the IBM Watson Health business unit amid an increase in volume of health-related data.
“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 Kelly III, senior vice president for solutions portfolio and research at IBM.
“We need better ways to tap into and analyze all of this information in real time to benefit patients and to improve wellness globally.”
According to IBM, Watson’s cognitive computing functions work to extract “individualized” insights that drive healthcare decisions based on data or evidence.
IBM’s partnerships with Apple, Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic target health services that leverage information from personal devices used for health, medical and fitness monitoring.
Watson Health Cloud will provide analytics support for Apple’s HealthKit and ResearchKit, intelligent coaching systems for pre- and postoperative care to Johnson & Johnson, and personalized care management for diabetic patients to Medtronic.
The company also acquired Explorys and Phytel to bolster health-focused big data and analytics technologies and services.
Watson Health will also oversee the company’s work with partners in the medical community and provide access to relevant technology.
The unit’s headquarters will be in Boston and house an estimated 2,000 personnel, a figure that includes the smarter care and social programs practice.