IBM's Watson Health to acquire Truven Health Analytics for $2.6 billion

IBM's Watson Health unit announced Thursday plans to acquire Truven Health Analytics, a provider of cloud-based healthcare data, analytics and insights, for $2.6 billion. Deborah DiSanzo, general manager for Watson Health, remarked "with this acquisition, IBM will be one of the world’s leading health data, analytics and insights companies, and the only one that can deliver the unique cognitive capabilities of the Watson platform."

According to IBM, Truven has over 8500 clients, including "US federal and state government agencies, employers, health plans, hospitals, clinicians and life sciences companies." Upon completion of the deal, which is projected to close later this year, IBM’s health cloud will house one of the "largest and most diverse collections of health-related data," representing an aggregate of around 300 million patient lives. IBM further noted that healthcare organisations will be able to take previously disparate data sets and combine them through the Watson Health Cloud to "create unique insights that help inform a broad range of health decisions."

John Kelly, IBM senior vice president, remarked "our goal was to enter the healthcare industry in a big way and try to be a contributor to better outcomes at lower costs," adding "this is going to be a goldmine of insights," cognitive solutions and research. IBM indicated that it plans to integrate Truven’s cloud-based data set spanning hundreds of different types of cost, claims, quality and outcomes information with its existing data sets.

Last April, IBM announced the creation of Watson Health, along with the acquisition of two health technology firms, Explorys and Phytel. IBM has since purchased Merge Healthcare for $1 billion. Kelly said that after creating its cloud-based platform, IBM set out to acquire significant sets of data "in the healthcare industry to feed this engine," adding that Truven is the third and final health data company Watson Health needs to do that.

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