CVS Partners With IBM Watson To Develop Population Health Predictive Algorithms


CVS Health announces that it has partnered with IBM’s Watson business unit to begin exploring the use of predictive algorithms on a number of disease management projects. The pair intends to optimize Watson’s algorithms to monitor CVS customers and forecast deterioration in health across a wide variety of chronic conditions. Chronic diseases account for an estimated 86 percent of the nation’s health spending annually, and are a leading cause of death in the US. CVS will attempt to tackle this problem by monitoring patients that use its Minute Clinics, as well as any patients that it provides care for through its pharmacy benefits platform.

The pair will work to build an analytics platform that analyzes a wide variety of data sources, including: EHR data, pharmacy and medical claims information, wearables data, and environmental data. This information will be supplied to Watson, which will scrub the data sets to discover trends in patients that are declining in health and need to be seen by a doctor. One particularly valuable component of the new dataset is medication refill data, which will, to some degree, allow Watson to monitor medication adherence rates. Mike Rhodin, a senior vice president with IBM Watson, explains “The capabilities of the IBM Watson Health Cloud, when coupled with CVS Health’s insights into medication utilization and patient behavior, could prove transformative for the industry.”

CVS will take ownership of notifying the patient and their care team should the algorythms identify them as needing early interventions, coordinating earlier care and reducing acute on chronic episodes across a number of high-cost diseases. CVS will market its new service to insurers, health systems, and employers to act as a community liaison between patients and traditional brick and mortar health care providers, ultimately helping reduce the overall cost of care within the community. Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed.

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