National pharmacy and retail outlet CVS is trying to pivot this year towards a more healthcare-oriented approach, and now the drug store is teaming up with IBM’s famed supercomputer “Watson” to help chronic disease patients.
Consumers might recognize IBM’s supercomputer from its stint on Jeopardy several years ago. Now, Watson will analyze millions of data points, including medical claims, clinical records, and even information from fitness devices to help develop an early warning medical alert system.
CVS hopes Watson can help them identify potential medical emergencies before they happen. Together, CVS and Watson will try to identify chronic disease patients who may be in danger based on certain “red flag behaviors.”
CVS also hopes to utilize “Watson’s Health Cloud,” which IBM describes as a tool that can help “bring together clinical, research and social data from a diverse range of health sources, creating a secure, cloud-based data sharing hub, powered by the most advanced cognitive and analytic technologies.”
Surveys shows that an incredible 99.5% of new data stored by companies is never actually used or even analyzed. And with 7,600 retail pharmacies and 1,000 walk-in medical clinics, CVS hopes to leverage their vast amounts of data to improve medical outcomes for their patients. Using Watson’s advanced, cloud-based network will allow the chain to better serve its more than 70 million customers.
“This partnership will enable us to leverage advanced technologies and key health information to develop a tool that can be applied by a variety of health care providers such as pharmacists, nurse practitioners at MinuteClinics or connected health care providers,” said CVS Chief Medical Officer Troyen A. Brennan.
If the partnership is a success, CVS and IBM hope nurses and pharmacists will have a more advanced tool for predicting patient risk. Earlier this year, the drugstore announced it would no longer sell tobacco and smoking products, another step towards updating its brand.