CVS Health and IBM Inc. partnered up in predicting medical emergencies and proactive healthcare for chronic disease patients in a novel approach.
The program will involve IBM’s Watson, the super-computer that can manage and crunch millions of data points in short amounts of time. In this particular case, Watson will be the go to tool in CVS’s 7,600 pharmacies across the U.S., as well as 1,000 walk-in clinics, according to the joint statement on Thursday.
Planned to roll out in 2016, the CVS estimates that Watson could reach out approximately 70 million customers and could drastically improve risk detection and prevention for chronic disease patients.
With its cognitive-computing superpowers, Watson is capable of observing and interpreting data, evaluating the patterns of diseases and deciding the best fit course of action. As it interprets millions of data points in a short amount of time, patients would greatly benefit from its capabilities. So would pharmacists and doctors that would have found a trustworthy partner for timely risk detection.
CVS and IBM established that Watson would have access to the clinical records of patients under scrutiny, as well as medical claims or for instance fitness devices. By crunching all the data and interpreting it, the super cognitive computer would be of aid to primary care personnel, such as pharmacists and CVS nurses.
As most common chronic diseases are gulping down 2.9 trillion dollars annually in healthcare costs and represent the lead cause of death in the U.S. according to data provided by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service, the CVS-IBM partnership could help reduce these costs by effectively predicting risks and patient behaviors that usually bypass physicians.
CVS has the potential to reach out to its 70 million plan members. With the large network of locations where IBM’s Watson would be made available, the partnership could be the harbinger of proactive healthcare to those in need.
“This partnership will enable us to leverage advanced technologies and key health information to develop a tool that can be applied by a variety of health care providers such as pharmacists, nurse practitioners at MinuteClinics or connected health care providers, and that can help our pharmacy benefit management clients improve member health and manage cost,”
stated Troyen A. Brennan, chief medical officer.
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