There is much discussion concerning IBM Watson’s acquisition of Truven. With this merger, IBM Watson will have access to literally 80 million pages of data in one second. This move will establish IBM Watson as not just a major player in the healthcare industry, but as the major player in the healthcare industry.
While the purchase should cost 2.6 billion dollars when all is said and done, IBM Watson will find themselves with more than 8,500 new clients, and about half of those are American hospitals. With this amount of information, IBM Watson will boast access to health data that represents about 300 million people. While this is certainly enormous, the analytics company does seem well-suited to handle the merger.
In an industry as fragmented, sectionalized, and compartmentalized as healthcare, there is no one consolidating commercial entity. To elaborate, there has never been a company big enough in the past to connect all of the different facets of healthcare. However, with IBM Watson’s acquisition of Truven, this should change. This means that, as a whole, IBM Watson will have the opportunity to provide “unparalleled” insight into the healthcare industry, and they mean to capitalize.
Kyu Rhee, M.D., the chief health officer of Watson Health, claims this wealth of information “isn’t big data for the sake of big data. It’s ultimately about how we make sense out of that big data, and how we translate it into big insights for stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem, such as hospital administrators.”
The truth is Truven is merely the latest in IBM’s merger shopping spree. As of last April, the analytics company has actually purchased three other key companies in healthcare, all of which when combined are worth about four billion dollars. Said companies are Phytel, Explorys, and Merge Healthcare and their respective orientations within the healthcare industry show IBM Watson’s efforts to accumulate this mound of information. Phytel is a a population health management company while Explorys is known as a cloud-based healthcare intelligence expert. Merge Healthcare is a medical imaging company. When looking at all three of these former acquisitions in conjunction with the prospective acquisition of Truven, it is clear IBM Watson intends to backup their claims to translate this “big data” into “big insights.”
This long overdue consolidation within the industry has the potential to yield tremendous benefits for healthcare, healthcare costs, and patients all over the world. If nothing else, it at least provides us with the necessary tools to improve upon the current healthcare system.