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4/15/2015
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Apple, IBM Partner for Healthcare Analytics

Health data collected on Apple devices will be stored in IBM's Health Cloud for analysis by medical professionals and researchers.

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10 Apple Acquisitions: What Do They Mean?
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IBM this week announced a partnership with Apple to further advancements in health analytics. This initiative, which complements IBM's new Watson Health unit, aims to leverage big data analytics systems and secure open data storage to bring greater insight to medical researchers.

As part of the collaboration, IBM's Health Cloud and Watson cognitive computing will harness health data that Apple customers submit to iOS apps through its ResearchKit and HealthKit platforms. The goal is to use that information to further medical research and improve customer health.

Apple's HealthKit is designed to help developers create health apps that can help consumers manage their health and fitness information, monitor their behavior, and stay on top of treatments. ResearchKit is an open source software framework that enables medical researchers to further medical studies. It allows consumers to volunteer their health data to assist in medical research.

[Apple's ResearchKit Targets Fitness, Healthcare Markets]

Finding health data isn't the challenge in healthcare analytics -- the information is already there. IBM reports that there are 16,000 global hospitals collecting data on patients, of whom 4.9 million will use remote monitoring devices by 2016. Personal health and fitness trackers collect terabytes of data each day, most of which goes untouched.

(Image: Apple)

(Image: Apple)

Eighty percent of health data is unstructured, stored away in forms ranging from lab results to medical transcripts. The challenge in furthering big data for healthcare is analyzing this ocean of information to create actionable insights.

As IBM receives Apple's data, it will de-identify and store it in a secure and scalable cloud system. Researchers, doctors, and other health professionals will be able to view and share the data, as well as access data-mining and predictive analytics capabilities.

Apps that run through HealthKit and ResearchKit will be connected to Health Cloud through a delivery platform. This process will facilitate easy data storage, aggregation, and modeling. It will also have the ability to combine information with other research.

"Our deep understanding and history in the healthcare industry will help ensure that doctors and researchers can maximize the insights available through Apple's HealthKit and ResearchKit data," said John E. Kelly III, SVP for IBM's research and solutions portfolio.

Going forward, IBM also plans to leverage HealthKit to develop a collection of enterprise wellness apps. These offerings will fall under the title "IBM MobileFirst for iOS." They aim to help businesses play a greater role in working with employees to manage their health needs.

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Kelly Sheridan is Associate Editor at Dark Reading. She started her career in business tech journalism at Insurance & Technology and most recently reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft and business IT. Sheridan earned her BA at Villanova University. View Full Bio

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Broadway0474
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Broadway0474,
User Rank: Ninja
4/25/2015 | 10:41:41 PM
Re: Good alliance
Illya, I think your point would be much more impressive if you used two equally complex sentences with different uses of the word "Fire." Try that, and I may believe that you can capture the complexity of language.
Brian.Dean
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50%
Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
4/16/2015 | 7:05:09 AM
Re: Good alliance
Devices already exist that can help employees monitor their blood sugar levels, etc., it can help a diabetic employee to maximize their productivity and family life. Broken up in segments of months or years, it will seem that analytics is providing small increments of advancements to healthcare but, one decade from now and when viewed in aggregate -- analytics will have revolutionized the healthcare process.
Broadway0474
50%
50%
Broadway0474,
User Rank: Ninja
4/16/2015 | 12:02:19 AM
Re: Good alliance
The kicker comes at the very end of the article --- that IBM will create tools that employers can use to help their workers stay healthy. Very cool and very relevant, but I'd be interested to know just how far away we are from these apps in the real world.
Gary_EL
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50%
Gary_EL,
User Rank: Ninja
4/15/2015 | 11:26:21 PM
Re: Good alliance
What a great idea. All that information collected by millions of people each day, essentially serving no purpose. Now, it can be brought together and mined to provide insights that are as yet unimagined. It's like a US Census for health information.
Thomas Claburn
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50%
Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
4/15/2015 | 4:07:28 PM
Re: Good alliance
It would be great if Watson could be taught to diagnose illness through a mobile app. But my guess is this is more about administrative efficiency than clinical innovation.
Li Tan
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50%
Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
4/15/2015 | 3:06:25 PM
Good alliance
It sounds like a good alliance -  Apple provides the app for data collection and IBM offers data analytics via its big data ecosystem. I would like to sit with finger crossed to see how it will progress.:-)
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