IBM has announced plans to acquire cloud-based healthcare data and analytics firm Truven Health Analytics for $2.6bn to bolster its Watson Health division.
The acquisition will provide access to data on around 215 million patients stored in Truven’s databases, which will be used to fuel the analysis and cognitive computing capabilities that Watson Health offers to the healthcare industry.
Watson Health’s data pool will comprise information on around 300 million patients once the acquisition is completed later this year.
Deborah DiSanzo, general manager at IBM Watson Health, pictured right with Truven CEO Mike Boswood, explained that the acquisition will put IBM in a leading position in the field of health data and analytics.
“Truven’s impressive team, extensive client roster and expansive data sets complement Watson Health's broad-based team, capabilities and offerings,” she said.
DiSanzo added that buying Truven will give Watson Health the ability to scale its offerings to the healthcare sector.
The acquisition will also see IBM gain over 8,500 clients, including US federal and state government agencies, hospitals, clinicians and life sciences companies.
Truven is the fourth major IBM acquisition designed to build out Watson Health. IBM bought two cloud and big data healthcare startups to help get Watson Health off the ground, and subsequently added medical imaging firm Merge Healthcare.
IBM also has a partnership with Apple to make use of the firm’s ResearchKit and HealthKit services.
The partnership enables developers to create healthcare and wellness apps based on Apple’s heath services and data stored in the Watson Health Cloud.
The expansion of Watson Health highlights IBM’s goal to push its cognitive computing and analytics technology into a wider range of industries.
IBM recently bought The Weather Company to gain access to weather data and forecasting technology that will allow it to provide data analytics based on climate and weather forecasts to a variety of customers, ranging from app developers to media corporations and enterprises.
Expanding the breadth of Watson is all part of IBM’s mission to create an ecosystem around its cognitive computing technology which in-turn will help the firm expand into other sectors.
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