Novo Nordisk, IBM to create diabetes solutions built on the Watson Health Cloud

Novo Nordisk and IBM Watson Health have partnered to create solutions built on the Watson Health Cloud in an effort to help diabetes patients manage their condition, the companies announced Thursday. Jakob Riis, executive vice president at Novo Nordisk, said that working with "partners like IBM Watson Health helps us explore the opportunities presented by an increasingly digitalised healthcare system." Deborah DiSanzo, general manager of IBM Watson Health, added that IBM will help Novo Nordisk "create new e-health solutions on the Watson Health Cloud — accessing cognitive computing to help personalise care."

Under the deal, of which financial terms were not disclosed, the companies said they will explore diabetes care possibilities through insights from "real-time, real world evidence of Novo Nordisk diabetes treatments and devices." Meanwhile, the Watson Health Cloud will analyse health data on the 50 million US medical records held by IBM Watson Health, Riis noted, with the companies aiming to create a virtual doctor for patients that could dispense treatment advice such as insulin dosage.

Riis noted that data from continuous blood-sugar monitors uploaded to the Internet could be analysed, with data such as food intake and information on the timings and dosage of insulin injections incorporated. He said there are "a lot of routine issues around judgments of dosing and the whole interplay between food intake, exercise and insulin that could be better handled by artificial intelligence that can draw on a much broader source of data." Additionally, Riis said the partnership could help Novo Nordisk collect real-world data on patients using the company's drugs, which would give it the "ability to document what payers are really getting."

In April, IBM announced the creation of Watson Health, alongside partnerships with Apple, Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic, as part of the company's continued push into personal healthcare. In September, Teva was selected as the first foundational life sciences partner for IBM's Watson Health Cloud.

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