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Legs of Fit Couple Exercising on Treadmill DeviceIBM Watson Health has announced an agreement to acquire cloud based big data specialist Truven Health Analytics. The deal, valued at $2.6 billion, will give the IBM Watson Health portfolio an additional 8,500 clients and information on 215 million new patients, subject to the merger being concluded. Upon completion of due diligence, IBM will buy Truven from its current owner Veritas Capital.

Truven Health Analytics has a client list that includes US federal and state government agencies, employers, health plans, hospitals, clinicians and life sciences companies. The 215 million records of patient lives from Truven will be added to data from previous IBM Watson Health acquisitions of big data companies. These include 50 million patient case histories that came with its acquisition of cloud based health care intelligence company Explorys and 45 million records owned by population health analyser Phytel. IBM Watson Health has also bought medical imaging expert Merge Healthcare. In total, IBM Watson Health now has 310 million records of ‘patient lives’ which, IBM claims, gives it a health cloud housing ‘one of the world’s largest and most diverse collections of health-related data’.

In September BCN reported how two new cloud services, IBM Watson Health Cloud for Life Sciences Compliance and IBM Watson Care Manager had been created to unblock the big data bottlenecks in clinical research. The first service helps biomedical companies bring their inventions to market more efficiently, while the Care Manager system gives medical professionals a wider perspective on the factors they need to consider for personalised patient engagement programmes.

According to IBM it has now invested over $4 billion on buying health data and systems and will have 5,000 staff in its Watson Health division, including clinicians, epidemiologists, statisticians, healthcare administrators, policy experts and consultants.

Truven’s cloud-based technology, systems and health claims data, currently housed in offices and data centers across facilities in Michigan, Denver, Chicago, Carolina and India, are to be integrated with the Watson Health Cloud.

IBM has invited partners to build text, speech and image recognition capacity into their software and systems and 100 ecosystem partners have launched their own Watson-based apps. IBM opened a San Francisco office for its Watson developer cloud in September 2015 and is also building a new Watson data centre there, which is due to open in early 2016.

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