IBM joins forces with J&J, Medtronic, Apple in ambitious clinical research data pact
- Tech giant IBM is launching a new health unit (Watson Health) that aims to analyze millions of data points to assist doctors, scientists, and clinical researchers. The unit centers on IBM's supercomputer Watson, famous for besting its human opponents in the trivia game show Jeopardy!
- IBM is extending its extant partnership with Apple and striking new ones with pharma and medical device manufacturing giants Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic. Data derived from Apple's HealthKit and ResearchKit platforms, which track patients' vital signs and help log data points like diabetics' compliance to their drug regimens, will be used to give drug and device firms like J&J and Medtronic insights into improving patient care and targeting therapies.
- For instance, J&J will use Watson Health data to help prepare patients for knee surgeries and Medtronic will use the services to keep track of users' compliance and device efficacy.
The reality is that, in this age of cloud-based informatics and rigorous data collection, there's simply too much information for a human brain (or 1,000 human brains) to wrap itself around. One sector where that's abundantly clear is health and clinical trial data.
"If you’re an oncologist there are 170,000 clinical trials going on in the world every year," IBM Watson VP Steve Gold told Forbes in an interview.
But there's still a fair number of questions regarding how much insight all these data can provide—and whether or not they can really help pharma and med device companies develop better strategies, better drugs, and better regimens to improve patient care.