Dr. Watson Will See You Now: IBM, CVS Team on Patient Care

People suffering from chronic diseases are about to get some computer-assisted help, thanks to a new partnership between IBM and CVS Health. The companies announced a new collaboration today that will enable the pharmacy giant to use IBMEUs predictive analytics and its Watson cognitive computing platform to improve care management services for chronically ill patients.

The new program will allow healthcare professionals to leverage IBMEUs computing capabilities to provide more advanced services for a number of chronic conditions, such as hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity, according to the companies. Those diseases combine to represent the leading causes of death in the U.S. and almost $2.9 trillion in annual healthcare spending.

Big Data Meets the Pharmacy

IBMEUs Watson is a commercially available cognitive computing platform delivered through the cloud. It primarily analyzes large volumes of data, allowing clients such as app developers to build better programs.

The Watson platform is able to interact in natural language, read and understand large amounts of information, and learn new concepts through experience. WatsonEUs cognitive computing capabilities will enable healthcare practitioners to use data from a wide variety of healthcare data sources, including medical health records, pharmacy and medical claims information, environmental factors, and fitness devices.

The partnership essentially gives CVS access to big data computing capabilities, allowing the company to gain a much more complete picture of a patientEUs health profile. For the moment, the program is being optimized for patients with chronic diseases, although the underlying idea could eventually be applied to an even larger pool of patients.

The companies said that the program will be made available to insurers and other entities serving the employer and health plan market. Initially, the program will focus on three core goals: helping to identify which individuals are at risk for declining health; encouraging patients to adopt healthier...

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