We will soon see IBM and CVS, a company rebranded recently, joining hands to allow people use the Watson supercomputer for managing health problems such as hypertension, diabetes, and obesity. The two companies have decided to enter a new partnership for developing customer healthcare management services for all CVS customers suffering from chronic illnesses. They also have plans of licensing the new technology to insurance companies.
Although none of the companies have provided any details about the product, it has been said that the supercomputer will be able to predict whether an individual is at risk of experiencing a decline in health. The companies are saying such predictions will allow early intervention. Knowing an individual’s chances of getting a disease will allow medical practitioners to prepare proper healthcare guidelines for him or her and recommend appropriate, yet cost-effective primary care.
Troyen A. Brennan, the chief health officer of CVS, in one of his recent statements said that the partnership will allow the two companies to use key health data and advanced technologies for developing a device that can be used by nurses at MinuteClinics, pharmacists, and all connected healthcare providers. Brennan added that this ability of the device could help his pharmacy to improve its members’ health while managing healthcare costs.
The decision of joining hands with CVS is regarded as the biggest move by IBM into the mass market healthcare for Watson. All the initiatives were taken by the company so far were either related to clinical trials or were oncology centric.
For those who don’t know: CVS currently has as many as 7,600 retail stores and around thousand walk-in clinics. That’s not all; the company also runs a widely participated pharmacy program. According to recently obtained statistics, the program has over 70 million participants, which is almost 22% of the current US population.
Experts believe that the partnership between CVS and IBM might completely transform the role of pharmacists, specialists, primary-care physicians, and retail clinic practitioners. It might mean that an individual would need to consult with Watson, the supercomputer, during his or her routine visit to a nearby drugstore. Such consultations might inform people about an impending health issue or might warn them that the medicines they are taking are not working properly.