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April 14, 2015

IBM Watson Health to mine healthcare data with Apple

Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic to use the data to develop new services.

By CBR Staff Writer

IBM is strengthening its ties with Apple to gather health related information from millions of Apple devices and provide the data to the healthcare sector.

IBMs new business unit, Watson Health, is likely to collect information from devices and providers in the cloud and deliver insights from that data to healthcare companies including Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic.

IBM announced that Health Cloud and Watson will support health data entered by iOS users through ResearchKit and HealthKit frameworks.

Apple’s HealthKit provides the opportunity for developers to create consumer health apps that enable patients to manage their health and fitness in a better way. It will help monitor health behaviours of patients and encourage them to stick to their treatment plan.

ResearchKit, on the other hand, is an open source software framework that provides medical researchers with tools that can be used to accelerate medical studies, and patients can opt-in to use ResearchKit by contributing their health information to researchers.

According to reports, both the services are capable of generating millions of points of data and, with the consent of patients, IBM is planning to convert the data into meaningful signals for better treatment of illnesses.

IBM is also planning to set up headquarters for its Watson Health unit in Boston, which is likely to house 2,000 employees including 75 medical practitioners, reported Reuters.

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Johnson & Johnson, along with IBM is planning to introduce a mobile-based coaching system to help patients before or after surgery, and Medtronic is planning to come up with solution for people suffering from for diabetes by gaining insights from Watson Health.

IBM SVP John E said: "Our deep understanding and history in the healthcare industry will help ensure that doctors and researchers can maximise the insights available through Apple’s HealthKit and ResearchKit data.

"IBM’s secure data storage and analytics solutions will enable doctors and researchers to draw on real-time insights from consumer health and behavioral data at a scale never before possible."

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