Economy, Sci & Tech

IBM Health Teams With Apple

IBM Health Teams With Apple
IBM Health Teams With Apple

InternationalBusiness Machines Corporation, or IBM has announced it is furthering its partnership with Apple to make use of health information gathered by Apple mobile devices Reuters reported on Tuesday.

Its new Watson Health Unit, named after its super-computer made famous a few years ago on the US game-show Jeopardy, plans to aggregate health information from a large number of devices and providers in the cloud and offer insights to health companies. IBM has said it doesn’t plan to share people’s health information with insurance companies though.

IBM said it will create headquarters for the unit in Boston with 2,000 employees, including about 75 medical practitioners. IBM also said it bought two health technology firms, Explorys and Phytel, for an undisclosed amount, to add to its skills in health data analytics.

The company has already an arrangement to work with Apple on numerous enterprise applications, but is extending its co-operation in the area of health as the Apple Watch rolls out this week.

IBM’s HealthKit centralizes a user's health data provided by any number of fitness and health apps on a device, while ResearchKit is an open-source platform that lets researchers create diagnostic apps for use on the iPhone. One example is mPower, which measures hand tremors as a test for Parkinson's Disease.

Both services generate millions of points of data, and with customers' consent, IBM is looking to turn that anonymous data into meaningful signals for the treatment of illnesses or rehabilitation.

Johnson & Johnson, for example, said it will work with IBM on mobile-based coaching systems to help patients before or after surgery and will launch new health apps targeting chronic conditions.

Medical device maker Medtronic said it will use insights from Watson Health and work with IBM on personalized care plans for people with diabetes.