IBM will buy Truven Health Analytics for $2.6 billion, its fourth health data-related acquisition in the past year.

The purchases revolve around its core product, the Watson Health supercomputer, as IBM builds a repository of health data that soon will have data on 300 million lives, estimates suggest.

IBM’s other technology purchases to support Watson Health include Phytel (population health management), Explorys (cloud-hosted analytics) and Merge Healthcare (medical imaging software). In total, the four acquisitions add up to more than $4 billion, according to the company.

Truven Health has more than 8,500 clients that include providers, insurers, government agencies, employers and life sciences companies. With the purchase, Watson Health has access to Truven Health's cost types, claims, and quality and outcomes data.

The Watson Health unit will have more than 5,000 employees when it completes the Truven acquisition later this year, IBM says.

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