IBM Watson, Siemens unite on population health management

IBM Watson

IBM Watson ($IBM) and Siemens Healthineers are teaming up on a 5-year alliance in population health management under which they will help health providers bring value-based care to patients with complex and chronic conditions.

The global alliance will see the companies helping healthcare professionals tackle the challenges that come with ever-proliferating volumes of health data, an aging population and the increasing prevalence of chronic disease, the digitization and consumerization of healthcare and changes in healthcare payment models, the duo said in a statement. While the companies will contribute their respective expertise in the alliance, they plan to also jointly develop and deliver new population health management tools.

“Combining our strengths, Siemens Healthineers and IBM can effectively help providers transition to a value-based healthcare environment,” said Matthias Platsch, head of Services at Siemens Healthineers, in the statement. “We will bring the power of Siemens Healthineers’ extensive relationships with providers and our deep domain expertise in clinical workflows, services, and digital health technologies to bear to help bring population health management offerings to healthcare providers.”

Siemens Healthineers will offer consulting for providers as they transition over to value-based care and will also provide IBM Watson’s population health management offerings to hospitals and health systems. These solutions and services are intended to fulfill their needs in value-based care analytics and reporting as well as help them engage patients, according to the statement. They include IBM Watson Care Manager, which is designed to help providers and patients collaborate on supporting individual health. The platform integrates clinical and individual data, using cognitive analysis to draw out patterns that can help providers better treat patients with chronic conditions, according to the statement.

“We are at an unprecedented time in healthcare. Mature and developing markets are increasingly focused on how patient outcomes are optimized, quality is standardized among individuals and across populations, and costs are reduced,” said Deborah DiSanzo, general manager for IBM Watson Health, in the statement. “Siemens and IBM are ideal partners to work at the forefront of this evolution and enable personalized healthcare in the U.S. and globally.”

While this is the first partnership of the kind between the two companies, it isn’t the first foray into value-based care for IBM, which has bet big on Watson and machine learning. IBM Watson has made a flurry of partnerships to apply cognitive computing to areas such as cancer precision medicine and diabetes clinical and research data. IBM has also made a number of health data-related acquisitions, including a $2.6 billion deal to acquire cloud-based data player Truven and the $1 billion purchase of medical image management company Merge Healthcare.