IBM has launched their health cloud, Watson, with the help of numerous technology and health firms including Apple. Made famous by its stellar performance on Jeopardy, Watson will now be turning its impressive storage and processing capacity towards the goal of revolutionizing the health industry. Armonk, a New York based technology firm, described Watson saying;
IBM Watson Health Cloud will bring together clinical, research and social data from a diverse range of health sources, creating a secure, cloud-based data sharing hub, powered by the most advanced cognitive and analytic technologies,”
IBM is working with medical device giants Johnson & Johnson and Medtronics, as well as acquiring technology firms Explorys and Phytel, in order to acquire medical information and develop methods to store and process that information. IBM’s collaboration with Apple is also geared towards building health related data stores as Apple moves to gain access to consumer health information through health tracking wearable technology. Apple’s launch of the Apple Watch and ResearchKit, the iPhone app which allows consumers to participate in research endeavors, marks the tech company’s enterprise into the health frontier.
Apple’s data collecting aptitude matched with Watson’s storing and processing prowess may begin a new model for the future of medical knowledge building. Despite this, the Watson Health Cloud does raise questions about privacy and security in relation to the future of the health industry. While IBM’s vice president of research, John Kelley III, has said that Watson will be the most secure cloud to handle consumer information, the Watson endeavor is just one of many projects to begin using big data techniques with respect to consumer health information. The health research landscape is shifting as a result of large data collection capabilities, but so is the consumer privacy terrain as tech and health firms negotiate with consumer’s privacy expectations. Specifically with Watson, Kelley described IBM’s solution to consumer privacy concerns, saying;
“We will strip the identity of individuals from the data to ensure the privacy of the individual. We will be able to apply our massive scale cloud technology, our highest security, and deep deep analytics such as Watson to put these capabilities in the hands of health care providers, doctors, the nurses.”
Read more – IBM Launches Watson Health Cloud, to Mine and Analyze Big Health Data (STGist, Maria Asuncion)