News Releases

IBM Unveils Expanded Watson Platform for Health Cloud Capabilities and Introduces the Watson Health Consulting Services Unit at HIMSS17
New Offerings and Services Dedicated to Helping Healthcare Clients Succeed in the Cognitive Era

ORLANDO, Fla., Feb. 20, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- At the 2017 Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference in Orlando, IBM (NYSE: IBM) today introduced expanded capabilities for the Watson Platform for Health Cloud and a specialized Watson Health Consulting Services unit dedicated to helping clients and partners across the healthcare ecosystem capture the business opportunity of cognitive computing in healthcare.

Watson Platform for Health on the IBM Cloud is the Only Designed-for-Health Data Platform

To date, the adoption of cloud in the healthcare industry has been a slow process due to concerns around security, regulatory and compliance. Cloud providers may offer the raw materials, but then customers must assemble and then validate materials themselves. Global adoption for cloud services in healthcare are expected to grow from $3.73 billion in 2015 to nearly $10 billion by 2020, according to MarketsandMarkets. The promise of cloud and cognitive capabilities has become a leading discussion in every IT strategy meeting as a platform for innovation in the future of healthcare delivery. 

"As our clients look to accelerate the digitization of business processes, unlock new value from their health data and infuse new intelligence to transform their enterprise, they need a cloud platform that is built to specifically address the unique needs of the healthcare and life sciences industry," said Lori Steele, IBM Global Managing Director of Healthcare and Life Sciences.

New Watson Health cloud offerings and capabilities include enhancements to the HIPAA-enabled data-platform-as-a-service, a new GxP edition of the platform, and new data center locations. These enhancements aim to help business executives and enterprise data scientists harness the power of big data and cognitive – further extending the reach of Watson Platform for Health, the industry's only cloud data platform designed expressly for health and life sciences organizations.

"Stakes are high for health data, so a health cloud environment needs to be designed differently than one built to host email or online shopping," said Rebecca Buisan, Director of Offering Management, Watson Platform for Health. "Security and safeguards at all levels are essential. But to help speed time to compliance – a platform needs to help clients address key industry regulatory needs – whether audit, consent management, de-identification, data governance or GxP practices. Combine that with the advanced analytics and Watson cognitive services, this data platform offers a place where Health and Life Sciences companies can truly innovate."   

That is why IBM is expanding Watson Platform for Health's capabilities with enhancements to its HIPAA-enabled data platform, our new GxP edition, additional geography locations, and more, including:

Watson Platform for Health: the industry's first data platform designed specifically for health and life sciences development to help ease data ingestion, curation, and normalization – making it faster to get from data to insight. New enhancements include IBM Mobile Foundation support, to ease the process of building HIPAA-enabled mobile applications that work with Watson Health.     

Watson Platform for Health GxP: a data platform fully managed under the Watson Health Quality Management System to help organizations reduce the risks, costs and time associated with compliance to FDA and global regulations.

IBM Watson Annotator for Clinical Data: A cognitive service that allows companies to unlock critical information in unstructured data – such as physician notes, discharge summaries, and pathology reports – using natural language processing to deliver domain specific insights on information such as symptoms, disease, allergies, and medication to help drive insights for care.

Global Expansion: Watson Health is pleased to announce availability of the Cloud Platform for Health in not only in the US, but also in the Softlayer data center in London. IBM recently announced it was tripling its Cloud Data Center capacity in London.

Lynne Dunbrack, Research Vice President at IDC Health Insights, commented: "IBM is working to make sure the future of cognitive computing is distributed throughout and customized to healthcare and life sciences. Watson Health's industry-specific cloud and consulting service, along with mobile solutions using Watson's technology platform, are the right kinds of steps to support broad adoption of cognitive technologies by providers, payers and other healthcare organizations."

The Watson Health Consulting Services Unit Uncovers the Potential of Cognitive Healthcare

The new Watson Health Consulting Services unit is focused on helping clients transform healthcare through leveraging the power of cognitive solutions. The new global group includes a variety of consulting professionals who specialize in healthcare data science, analytics, machine learning, advanced population health, real-world evidence, clinical workflow, drug discovery process design and development, user experience, clinical workflow, and more. The team works with clients around the globe to form new strategies to improve care, identify how cognitive solutions fit into these strategies, quickly implement these new cognitive solutions, and transform their processes and operations to fully take advantage of the new these new capabilities.  

With deep expertise in the deployment of cognitive health solutions, the Watson Health Consulting Services unit builds on IBM's decades of experience in enterprise business consulting to create new data-driven efficiencies in the health system. In order to derive meaningful insights from growing bodies of health information, the Watson Health Consulting Services unit will help healthcare and Life Science organizations redesign processes from care delivery to drug development to marketing and customer relationship management. While the professionals in the new unit will focus exclusively on delivering the transformation enabled by our Watson Health solutions, they also draw on the skills and global delivery capability of the 130,000 IBM Global Business Services professionals around the world.

"The launch of the new Watson Health Consulting Services unit is about helping our clients transform healthcare, in quality, improved access, patient satisfaction and lower cost in the cognitive healthcare era," said Matt Porta, Vice President and Partner for IBM Watson Health Consulting Group.

HIMSS17 is February 19-23 at the Orange County Convention Center. Visit IBM Watson Health (booth #1809); Merge, an IBM Company (booth #1712); and Truven Health Analytics, an IBM Company (booth #4861). Go online to learn about IBM Watson Health at HIMSS17 and follow IBM's Watson Health's social media channels #IBMHealthcare, #WatsonHealth, and #HIMSS17 for on-site activity updates, times and locations, as well as timely insights from the Watson Health ecosystem.

About IBM Watson Health
Watson is the first commercially available cognitive computing capability representing a new era in computing. The system, delivered through the cloud, analyzes high volumes of data, understands complex questions posed in natural language, and proposes evidence-based answers. Watson continuously learns, gaining in value and knowledge over time, from previous interactions. In April 2015, the company launched IBM Watson Health and the Watson Health Core cloud platform (now Watson Platform for Health). The new unit will help improve the ability of doctors, researchers and insurers to innovate by surfacing insights from the massive amount of personal health data being created and shared daily. The Watson Platform for Health can mask patient identities and allow for information to be shared and combined with a dynamic and constantly growing aggregated view of clinical, research and social health data. For more information on IBM Watson, visit: For more information on IBM Watson Health, visit:

Media Contact:

Kristi Bond
IBM Media Relations
(802) 345-8313