Apple and IBM extend partnership to include mHealth


IBM launches health unit to process data from wearable fitness trackers and apps

IBM has extended its partnership Apple to launch a unit that will process data from health and fitness trackers.

Watson Health aims to create “a secure, cloud-based data sharing hub” that can feed analytic technologies such as Apple’s mHealth.

The partnership with Apple will see IBM launch new employee health and wellness solutions, it said. The firm’s first agreed to work together last year.

IBM will use data from Apple’s new wearable the Apple Watch to put health data in to the hands of doctors and health insurance firms to develop and improve treatments using Apple’s HealthKit and ResearchKit platforms.

Apple unveiled ResearchKit at the launch of its Watch on March 9 and said information taken from the wearable can be sent straight to medical professionals if the user opts in.

“Our deep understanding and history in the healthcare industry will help ensure that doctors and researchers can maximise the insights available through Apple’s HealthKit and ResearchKit data,” said IBM senior  John E. Kelly III, senior vice president, IBM research and solutions portfolio. “IBM’s secure data storage and analytics solutions will enable doctors and researchers to draw on real-time insights from consumer health and behavioral data at a scale never before possible.”

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

IBM said part of its new health strategy will involve the acquisitions of Explorys, which has one of the largest healthcare databases in the world, and Phytel, a company that works with digital medical record systems to reduce hospital readmissions.