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IBM’s Watson to give CVS insights

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WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health and IBM Corp. are partnering to provide patients suffering from chronic diseases with improved services for health care management.

The agreement, which was announced July 30, will allow pharmacists and practitioners from CVS Health to benefit from the state-of-the-art computing capabilities of IBM’s premier supercomputer Watson in analyzing massive amounts of data and interpreting and evaluating ­information.

The companies explain that the partnership will enable health care practitioners to gain insights from stores of health data across multiple sources — such as medical health records, pharmacy and medical claims information, environmental factors, and fitness devices data — that can be applied to help people stay on track with their care and meet their health goals.

“CVS Health and IBM are both committed to improving health and finding ways to engage individuals in their well-being through the use of information and technology,” said Dr. Troy Brennan, CVS Health executive vice president and chief medical officer.

“This partnership will enable us to leverage advanced technologies and key health information to develop a tool that can be applied by a variety of health care providers, such as pharmacists, nurse practitioners at MinuteClinics or connected health care providers, and that can help our pharmacy benefit management clients improve member health and manage cost.”

The collaboration will merge IBM’s Watson Health Cloud and cognitive computing capabilities with both companies’ expertise in predictive analytics and patient engagement, as well as CVS’ insights into medication adherence and pharmacy care.

The partners further note that the joint CVS Health/IBM Watson Health solution will be optimized for use across a range of chronic conditions.

The offering, which is to be made available to insurers and other entities that are serving the employer and health plan market, will focus on identifying people who are at risk for declining health and who might benefit from proactive, customized engagement programs.

In addition, it will focus on encouraging patients to adopt safe and healthy behaviors, including adherence to prescribed medicines and healthy lifestyle regimens, as well as recommending the use of cost-effective primary care and outpatient providers.

CVS and IBM noted that chronic diseases such as hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and obesity are the nation’s top causes of death and disability and represent 86% of its annual health spending of $2.9 trillion.

“Improving care for people with chronic conditions supports IBM’s commitment to make big plays that advance the health and well-being of the global community,” said IBM Watson senior vice president Mike Rhodin.

Rhodin said the partnership is consistent with the goals of recent acquisitions by IBM aimed at helping the company engage with patients and improve health outcomes.


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