IBM and CVS announced on Thursday that they are partnering to develop algorithms that can be used to predict a patient's health.
IBM first introduced the Watson cloud system last year, designed to recognize patterns and similarities in large amounts of data including various chemical compound interactions and complex human language. When fed massive amounts of data, the computer system can differentiate various connections in the data and analyze data performance to predict future scenarios, as HNGN previously reported.
Using artificial intelligence, the computer will analyze the information and provide answers and visualizations. It can also present predictions based on current trends. During the testing, IBM worked with Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi and Baylor College of Medicine for their clinical trials on drug development. Now, the company is adding CVS, one of the largest pharmacy chains in the United States, on a study that would initially focus on patients with chronic conditions, such as heart disease and obesity.
"This collaboration enables us to learn about how other sources of health information could help predict declining health or the need for an intervention for a patient with a chronic condition," Dr. Troyen Brennan, chief medical officer at CVS Health, told Forbes. "For example, we can learn if information about a patient's activity levels from a tracker like a FitBit could help us identify their risk for declining health."
So how would the IBM-CVS partnership transform patient care? Patients going to the pharmacy can consult with a Watson kiosk to verify a doctor's prescription or ask for one based on the symptoms, according to the Washington Post.
Details of how IBM and CVS would protect the patients' records weren't disclosed but the companies assured that patients' information would not be stored without their consent. The health data that would be collected by Watson can be used by companies to further understand how the consumer's behavior affect his or her health.
"Patient information would only be used with the patient's consent and knowledge," Christine Cramer, CVS spokesperson, said in an email to InformationWeek.
"It's hard to say at this point exactly how the product will be used or implemented as the partnership is just beginning."