IBM has set up new healthcare partnerships that bring together Apple, medical companies and the cognitive computing power of IBM's Watson under a new service called Watson Health Cloud.
The firm said that it is working with Apple, Medtronic and Johnson & Johnson on a system that will take information from wearable devices, in this case the Apple Watch, and process it with Watson to make it useful for the healthcare industry.
"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 John Kelly, senior vice president for IBM's 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 behavioural data at a scale never before possible."
IBM has now promised to build "enterprise wellness apps" based around ResearchKit to cover health needs from "acute diseases to general fitness".
Data will be held in the Watson Health Cloud, which is described as a secure and open platform for use by the health and wellness industries.
"With Apple's ground-breaking 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 will also build a suite of enterprise wellness apps using HealthKit. The IBM MobileFirst for iOS apps will be designed for enterprises to work with employees to better manage their health needs across acute diseases to general fitness.
Johnson & Johnson will work with IBM on intelligent coaching systems and patient recovery, and on developing applications for people with "acute or chronic" illnesses. Medtronic's focus will be on diabetes.
Watson Health is further boosted by two acquisitions in the form of health technology companies Explorys and Phytel, which were picked up for an undisclosed sum.
IBM will headquarter its health work in New York and plans to fill its facility with some 2,000 staff.
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