February 18, 2016 – IBM said it will acquire Truven Health Analytics for $2.6 billion in cash, bringing to its Watson Health unit a major repository of health data from thousands of hospitals, employers and state governments.
It’s the fourth major acquisition in the 10-month lifespan of IBM IBM +5.38% Watson Health, the computer giant’s artificial intelligence system that figures to be a major player in improving health outcomes as the U.S. healthcare system moves away from fee-for-service medicine to value-based care. To help better manage populations of patients through the Watson health platform, data and insights from Truven that inform benefit decisions for one in three Americans will be important.
“This is going to be a goldmine of insights,” John Kelly, IBM senior vice president, cognitive solutions and research, said in an interview.
The purchase of Truven, which is privately held, will also double the size of IBM Watson to roughly 5,000 employees since IBM launched the health unit in April of last year, making it “one of the world’s largest and most diverse” repositories of health data, the companies said. In Truven, IBM Watson will add hundreds of clinicians, epidemiologists, statisticians, policy experts and related healthcare experts to its workforce.
“Our goal was to enter the healthcare industry in a big way and try to be a contributor to better outcomes at lower costs,” Kelly said. “This is such a rich data set. This is going to be a goldmine of insights.”
Once the Truven deal closes later this year, IBM said it will have invested more than $4 billion to be what Watson Health general manager Deborah DiSanzo calls the “world’s leading health data, analytics and insights company and the only one that can deliver the unique cognitive capabilities of the Watson platform.”
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