IBM unveils expanded Watson Platform for health cloud capabilities

New offerings and services dedicated to helping healthcare vlients succeed in the cognitive era

IBM has introduced expanded capabilities for the Watson Platform for Health Cloud and a specialised Watson Health Consulting Services unit dedicated to helping clients and partners across the healthcare ecosystem capture the business opportunity of cognitive computing in healthcare.

To date, the adoption of cloud in the healthcare industry has been a slow process due to concerns around security, regulatory and compliance.

Cloud providers may offer the raw materials, but then customers must assemble and then validate materials themselves.

Global adoption for cloud services in healthcare is expected to grow from $3.73billion in 2015 to nearly $10 billion by 2020, according to MarketsandMarkets.

The promise of cloud and cognitive capabilities has become a leading discussion in every IT strategy meeting as a platform for innovation in the future of healthcare delivery.

“As our clients look to accelerate the digitisation of business processes, unlock new value from their health data, and infuse new intelligence to transform their enterprise; they need a cloud platform that is built to specifically address the unique needs of the healthcare and life sciences industry,” said Lori Steele, IBM global managing director of healthcare and life sciences.

New Watson Health cloud offerings and capabilities include enhancements to the HIPAA-enabled data-platform-as-a-service; a new GxP edition of the platform; and new data centre locations.

These enhancements aim to help business executives and enterprise data scientists harness the power of big data and cognitive – further extending the reach of Watson Platform for Health, the industry’s-only cloud data platform designed expressly for health and life sciences organisations.

“Stakes are high for health data, so a health cloud environment needs to be designed differently than one built to host email or online shopping,” said Rebecca Buisan, director of offering management for the Watson Platform for Health.

“Security and safeguards at all levels are essential. But, to help speed time to compliance, a platform needs to help clients address key industry regulatory needs – whether audit, consent management, de-identification, data governance, or GxP practices. Combine that with the advanced analytics and Watson cognitive services, and this data platform offers a place where health and life sciences companies can truly innovate.”

The Watson Platform for Health is the industry’s first data platform designed specifically for health and life sciences development to help ease data ingestion, curation, and normalisation – making it faster to get from data to insight.

New enhancements include IBM Mobile Foundation support, to ease the process of building HIPAA-enabled mobile applications that work with Watson Health.

The Watson Platform for Health GxP is a data platform fully managed under the Watson Health Quality Management System to help organisations reduce the risks, costs and time associated with compliance to FDA and global regulations.

The IBM Watson Annotator for Clinical Data is a cognitive service that allows companies to unlock critical information in unstructured data – such as physician notes, discharge summaries, and pathology reports – using natural language processing to deliver domain specific insights on information such as symptoms, disease, allergies, and medication to help drive insights for care.