Welltok Inc., vendor of a Web-based health wellness platform called CafeWell that providers and payers can offer to consumers, is the latest organization to collaborate with IBM Corp. to enhance the health care cognitive computer capabilities of the Watson supercomputer.

IBM also has invested an undisclosed sum in Welltok, its first direct investment since recently forming a new unit called Watson Group. Including IBM, Welltok has raised more than $40 million during the last nine months. Jeff Margolis, founder of payer software vendor TriZetto Group in 1997, is CEO and chair of Welltok.

(See also: Watson Supercomputer Goes to the Cloud for App Developers)

The CafeWell platform houses apps, condition management programs, content and tracking devices, among other tools, to support health and wellness initiatives. Participating consumers can receive incentives, such as lower premiums, for meeting goals such as lowering their body mass index.

Now, Welltok will use Watson's language understanding technology to address consumers’ questions about health conditions and activities and guide them through itineraries, and Watson will learn which itineraries or rewards are most successful in helping consumers reach wellness goals.

Other health care provider, payer and vendor organizations working with IBM to develop health-related capabilities for Watson include Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Nuance Communications, Columbia University Medical Center, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, WellPoint and Cleveland Clinic, Methodist Health System in Dallas and MDBuyline.

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