IBM’s Watson is a super computer that is most notable for its appearance on the television gameshow Jeopardy! That appearance was several years ago and since then, IBM has transformed Watson into a cloud service that can be used to hash out useful information from data that may seem unconnected.
Although Watson will likely be used in other industries, it seems as if IBM has focused its efforts towards the healthcare industry. The Watson Health Cloud is making enormous strides in being able to take personal data and turn it into useful information for a particular person. Once the data goes into the cloud, it can be used to compare against the data it has already procured from others.
“We believe a very large portion of healthcare spend is preventable,” said John Kelly, IBM’s SVP of solutions research. “Costs can improve dramatically through these technologies.”
Being able to rapidly gather this data is one thing. Actually being able to put it into your cloud is another. IBM’s solution was to partner with Johnson & Johnson and Apple. Apple says that they will support ResearchKit and HealthKit in the new iOS8.
These kits work behind the scenes in health apps. When users agree to have their anonymous information shared, the data goes into the Watson Health Cloud and that data is used to aggregate treatments and make comparisons on trends for the general population.
IBM’s Kelly mentions, “We’ll put that cloud right behind ResearchKit and HealthKit so your data can be compared to the data of millions of people to have better healthcare.”
What about data privacy? In Kelly’s interview with Mashable, he notes, “When it comes through your doctor or hospital, it will be re-identified for you but no one else, so we can get the information back to you and your doctor as you see fit.”