As part of its strategy to accelerate the adoption of IBM Watson in healthcare, IBM has announced three major partnerships with Apple, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and Medtronic to develop new technology to help healthcare companies analyse patient data.

“Across all industries, our analytics is $17 billion and now we’ll be taking that focus into healthcare. We’re not dabbling,” said Senior Vice President, Solutions Portfolio at IBM, Dr John Kelly.

The partnerships will expand IBM’s role in the emerging personal health information market by focusing specifically on collecting data, conducting analysis and giving feedback on consumer and medical device applications.

Each partner will use IBM Watson Health Cloud as the foundation for their own medical intelligence services. Apple will apply the IBM cloud platform to HealthKit and ResearchKit, allowing users to upload de-identified personal health data for research purposes. J&J will apply Watson technology to improve patient care before and after knee and hip replacements, ranging from patient records to digital fitness devices and smartphone apps that monitor movement and vital signs. Medtronic will use the data on the Watson platform to treat diabetes patients beyond providing them with its medical equipment, such as to identify and send alerts to patients who require special care.

IBM also announced their plans acquire the cloud-computing system Explorys, which according to IBM provides secure cloud-based solutions for clinical integration and serves 360 hospitals and more than 317,000 providers, and cloud-based computer services organisation Phytel.

The acquisitions are intended to provide Watson Health Cloud with better tools for aggregating and analysing clinical, health and social research data. IBM plans to invest a total of $1 billion into the initiative.

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