American multinational company IBM on Monday partnered with drug maker Johnson & Johnson, tech giant Apple Inc. and medical tech firm Medtronic in an attempt to enable personalized healthcare on a large scale. IBM also acquired two medical-data software companies eyeing the same goal.
The company will be using its years-long experience in processing of the data in the domain of healthcare.
IBM will be contributing in its artificial-intelligence technology, known as Watson technology.
John E. Kelly, senior vice president at IBM who supervises new innovative initiatives and research labs, said that the firm will allow personalized health care on a large scale.
Watson technology will be monitoring huge stores of health data under a cloud-based service. It will also offer tailored insight to the researchers, insurers, physicians, hospitals and possible individual patients.
The four partners will be working in collaboration for developing data analytics for the healthcare system by offering vast inflow of health-related data. This collaboration hints toward a growing view among the medical technology vendors and providers.
The information of the patients could give closer insight, while also opening several business opportunities.
Medtronic and Johnson & Johnson will be extending support in providing information of the patients who have given their consent to share it under health privacy laws. On the other hand, IBM would be assisting in consolidating the data and develop it into an app which will be sold to several branches of medical providers. Tech giant Apple Inc. will be providing nutrition, heart-rate, fitness and various related data uploaded to apps running on iPads and iPhones. In a bid to make this project a success, IBM will be establishing its headquarters in Boston. It will hire 2000 new employees and 75 medical practitioners.
“The health-care system is highly fragmented with very little sharing of information, and outcomes are not acceptable and the cost is completely unacceptable. As we see health care becoming more information-based, we see a role for IBM to step in,” John Kelly said.
Meanwhile, the efforts of IMB have been hailed by the critics of health information technology.
Dr. Robert M. Wachter, a professor from the University of California, has said that if IBM’s plan works in the future it will require such major players for collaboration in order to make things to become real.