A new IBM business unit launched last week to help physicians, researchers, insurers and patients use big data, analytics and mobile technology to achieve better health outcomes is being described by the company’s chief executive officer as their “moonshot” in healthcare.
IBM announced a new business unit—Watson Health—that will offer cloud-based access to its Watson supercomputer for analyzing healthcare data. Big Blue has partnered with Apple, Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic to make it easier for healthcare organizations to store and analyze patient data by leveraging Watson’s cognitive capabilities and creating “new health-based offerings that leverage information collected from personal health, medical and fitness devices” providing “better insights, real-time feedback and recommendations to improve everything from personal health and wellness to acute and chronic care.”
Three technology trends are converging at once—big data, cloud, and mobility—making medical breakthroughs possible, according to Ginni Rometty, chairman and CEO of IBM, who revealed that these technologies already represent 27 percent of IBM’s business. The Watson Health Cloud platform will “enable secure access to individualized insights and a more complete picture of the many factors that can affect people’s health,” according to the announcement. IBM says each person generates one million gigabytes of health-related data across his or her lifetime, the equivalent of more than 300 million books.
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