IBM this evening has announced a new dedicated health unit that will deepen its relationship with Apple. The service, called Watson Health, will use the data collected with Apple’s HealthKit and ResearchKit services to provide information to various other companies including Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic. From there, those companies can integrate the data into services they offer to healthcare companies. Apple will work to integrate Watson-based apps into HealthKit and ResearchKit for these purposes (via Forbes).
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ResearchKit was announced by Apple in March and allows users to opt-in and contribute to scientific researching regarding health and medicine. ResearchKit is an open source platform that is supported by a handful of third-party apps already. HealthKit and its accompanying Health app on iOS 8, is a platform that essentially tracks data from a variety of third-party apps and displays int in a central location.
IBM claims that its new Watson Health platform will link old electronic health records with the new, cloud-based technology of HealthKit and ResearchKit. With so much research being done, Watson Health hopes to parse that information into manageable amounts for doctors, researchers, and patients alike.
“We are convinced that by the size and scale of what we’re doing we can transform this industry,” John Kelley, Senior Vice President, IBM Research said. “I’m convinced that now is the time.”
Apple and IBM announced an enterprise based partnership last year, but Watson Health adds another layer to the growing partnership.