News Feature | October 12, 2016

Siemens Healthineers, IBM Watson Health Forge Alliance On Population Health

By Jof Enriquez,
Follow me on Twitter @jofenriq


Siemens Healthineers and IBM Watson Health have announced a five year, global strategic alliance in Population Health Management (PHM), bringing value-based healthcare solutions to hospitals caring for patients with chronic conditions. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Population health is defined as the health outcomes of a group of individuals, including the distribution of such outcomes within the group. It has become a multi-billion-dollar business for insurance companies who are shifting payments and reimbursements from a fee-for-service model to one that's tied to health outcomes. By analyzing patient populations, population health platforms could help hospitals and providers implements preventative strategies to reduce morbidity and mortality, lessen costs, and meet outcome-based targets.

With their alliance, Siemens Healthineers will offer PHM solutions and services from IBM Watson Health, and bundle these services with Siemens instruments and machines used by Siemens' extensive network of hospital clients aiming for better quality care requirements.

Siemens has “deep experience” with how hospital administrators run their health systems, pointed out Dr. Anil Jain, senior VP and CMO at Explorys, an IBM company that does healthcare big data analytics, reports Business Insider. "It's complementary to the experience Watson Health has already developed."

In the future, the two companies reportedly will develop integrated services and tools, including possibly a CAT scan that has artificial intelligence built in.

Since launching in April 2015, IBM Watson has strengthened its vaunted data analytics ability to sift through huge amounts of health data by buying Explorys, a healthcare intelligence cloud spinoff from Cleveland Clinic; Phytel, a provider of integrated population health management software; Merge Healthcare, a medical imaging company; and Truven, a cloud-based health analytics company, help providers meet reimbursement schedules, reduce costs, and achieve better patient care outcomes.

IBM in June formed a “Watson Health medical imaging collaborative” with sixteen leading health systems, academic medical centers, ambulatory radiology providers, and imaging technology companies that will use the supercomputer's data crunching capacity to help diagnose diseases. IBM Watson Health already has inked separate deals with Medtronic, Johnson & Johnson, and Apple to aggregate health data from multiple devices and sources into its ever-expanding "Big Data" cloud platform. The deal with Siemens allows IBM to extend its healthcare reach even further.

For Siemens, the partnership with IBM lets it leverage its imaging business and clinical solutions into its first foray into population health management. Rival Royal Philips also is fast strengthening its PHM business, which offers enterprise telehealth, home monitoring, personal emergency response systems (PERS) and personal health services.

“Combining our strengths, Siemens Healthineers and IBM can effectively help providers transition to a value-based healthcare environment,” said Matthias Platsch, head of services at Siemens Healthineers, in a news release. “We will bring the power of Siemens Healthineers’ extensive relationships with providers and our deep domain expertise in clinical workflows, services, and digital health technologies to bear to help bring population health management offerings to healthcare providers. The new alliance fits perfectly into the services business of Siemens Healthineers. Thus we will enter the rapidly growing PHM market which is expected to play a significant role in end-to-end value-based healthcare.”