IBM buys health start-ups, teams up with Apple

IBM is launching a new service, the Watson Health Cloud to help health professionals get better insights into their client’s health, the company announced on Wednesday.

Together with the setting up of the service, the company has acquired two start-ups, Explorys and Phytel.

Explorys offers a cloud service for processing various types of data, business intelligence and predictive analytics, while Phytel provides cloud software for storing various types of health data and offering insight into groups of patients for hospitals.

Financial details of the purchase were not unveiled.

IBM has also partnered up with Apple, Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic to use its Watson artificial intelligence system to give users insights and advice from personal health information gathered from fitness trackers, smartphones, implants or other devices.

“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 said in a news release.

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

IBM expects more companies to join the health platform, which it envisions growing to a global scale.

The company confirmed the new unit’s headquarters will be in Boston, and that it will employ 2,000 people, including 75 medical practitioners.

Under the partnership it will be able to handle data collected using health applications from Apple mobile devices, according to IBM.

“Now IBM's secure cloud and analytic capabilities provide additional tools to help accelerate discoveries across a wide variety of health issues,” Apple senior vice president of operations Jeff Williams said in a release.