News Feature | March 2, 2016

IBM's Acquisition Of Truven Boosts Data Bank To 300 Million Patients

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Tackling The Coming Surge In Healthcare Data With Trained Machines

Watson Health establishing large and diverse repository of Health-related data

IBM has agreed to purchase Truven Health Analytics for $2.6 billion as part of its effort to boost the healthcare capabilities of its Watson cognitive computing system. The acquisition, the fourth major health data addition since its April 2015 launch, results in the integration of Truven’s cloud-based data set and health claims data into the Watson Health Cloud.

When the deal is finalized, IBM says it will have “invested more than $4 billion to acquire and build an unparalleled array of cognitive healthcare capabilities intended to help professionals improve health outcomes, control costs, and advance value-based care solutions.”

The purchase of Truven, a provider of cloud-based healthcare data, adds 8,500 clients to the IBM Watson Health portfolio including U.S. federal and state government agencies, health plans, hospitals, clinicians, employers, and life sciences companies.

Post-acquisition, IBM’s health cloud will comprise one of the largest and most diverse collections of health-related data with 300 million patients represented. The purchase will also double IBM Watson’s size to about 5,000 employees, according to Fortune, including hundreds of clinicians, epidemiologists, statisticians, healthcare administrators, policy experts, and healthcare consultants.

“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,” said Deborah DiSanzo, general manager for IBM Watson Health. “Truven’s impressive team, extensive client roster, and expansive data sets complement Watson Health’s broad-based team, capabilities and offerings. Together, we’re well positioned to scale globally and to build first-in-class offerings designed to help our clients apply cognitive insights in a value-based care environment.”

As value-based care becomes the newhealthcare model, aiming to improve the quality of care while controlling costs and driving better near- and long-term health outcomes for individuals,providers, payers and other stakeholders musthave evidence — data and insight — to document how specific elements of care contribute to achieving a target health outcome for a given cost. This latest acquisition will allow Watson Health offerings to be optimized to help clients succeed in this environment by helping them achieve better patient outcomes at reduced cost through advanced analytics and actionable insights.

Over the past year, Watson Health has also acquired Phytel, which offers population health management software solutions; Explorys, a cloud-based healthcare intelligence company; and Merge Healthcare, a medical imaging software company. It has also partnered with Apple, Medtronic, Johnson & Johnson, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Novo Nordisk, and CVS Health.

The Truven deal is expected to close some time this year, according to Becker’s Hospital Review.