With the acquisition of Truven Health Analytics completed late last week by IBM Corp., data scientists will immediately begin tapping into Truven’s health data with the analytic capabilities of Watson Health to derive findings that will bolster IBM’s offerings in the value-based care arena.

IBM paid $2.6 billion to buy Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Truven Health, a provider of cloud-based healthcare data, analytics and insight. The purchase was IBM’s fourth major health data-related acquisition since launching the Watson Health Unit last April.

IBM ’s previous purchases included population health management vendor Phytel, cloud-hosted analytics company Explorys and medical imaging software vendor Merge Healthcare. In total, the deals cost Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM more than $4 billion.

Bloomberg/file photo
Bloomberg/file photo

Truven has 8,500 provider and payer clients that Watson Health does not have, along with huge amounts of clinical and financial data, says John Osberg, a managing partner at Informed Partners LLC, which facilitates mergers and acquisitions.

Other Truven clients include federal and state government agencies, employers, health plans, hospitals, clinicians and life sciences companies. Data and insights from Truven inform benefit decisions for one in three Americans, IBM estimates.

IBM estimates a total workforce of more than 5,000 employees in the Watson Health line. That total includes hundreds of clinicians, epidemiologists, statisticians, healthcare administrators, policy experts and healthcare consultants, IBM says.

IBM and Truven data scientists will begin using Watson Health's cognitive capabilities to derive insights from Truven's health data, IBM said in a statement. “Through Truven, IBM gains extensive data spanning cost, claims, quality and outcomes information. IBM anticipates that healthcare organizations will tap into this cloud-based data to take previously disparate data sets, including vast amounts of structured and unstructured data, and combine them together to create unique insights that help inform a broad range of health decisions in an effort to improve the quality of care at lower cost.”

IBM is also expecting to gain benefits in its value-based care products by the insights it gains from Truven Health data.

Watson is the first commercially available cognitive computing capability. Delivered through the cloud, Watson is able to analyze high volumes of data, understand complex questions posed in natural language, and proposes evidence-based answers.

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