IBM and Apple announce potentially life-saving partnership

IBM has announced a partnership with Apple which will look to use artificial intelligence to gather medical insights from the huge quantities of health data collected by personal devices.

The two companies will also collaborate with Medtronic and Johnson and Johnson and utilise IBM’s super computer Watson to potentially save lives.

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The mass adoption of smartphones, fitness trackers and other wearables means that information regarding an individual’s health is being gathered passively all the time. The new initiative from IBM and Apple will look to take advantage of this information by giving patients and medical professionals easy and quick access to the data they need.

"All this data can be overwhelming for providers and patients alike, but it also presents an unprecedented opportunity to transform the ways in which we manage our health," IBM senior vice president John Kelly explained.

"We need better ways to tap into and analyze all of this information in real-time to benefit patients and to improve wellness globally."

Ultimately, IBM envisions a global health platform, which companies and individuals can join and benefit from more accurate health insights. As further evidence of IBM’s commitment to medical technologies, the US company has also acquired two healthcare firms and is establishing its own Health Cloud platform.

The partnership with Apple will see IBM provide a delivery platform for apps using HealthKit and ResearchKit to easily store, aggregate and model data in order to enrich research findings. In order to maintain public privacy, IBM will de-identify and store all medical data in a secure scalable cloud platform.

If successful, the new approach to healthcare could revolutionise the way we manage our medical information, according to Apple senior vice president of operations Jeff Williams.

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"With Apple’s groundbreaking ResearchKit, researchers can easily create apps that take advantage of the power of mobile devices to give them rich data from a diverse global population," he said. “Now IBM’s secure cloud and analytics capabilities provide additional tools to help accelerate discoveries across a wide variety of health issues.”