IBM Watson teams with Welltok, AHA to develop workplace health program

IBM says the program will be the first use of Watson technology for the study and prevention of cardiovascular disease.

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IBM says it is teaming up with social health management company Welltok and the American Heart Association to develop workplace health technology focused on improving heart health.

The platform will combine Watson's natural language processing and cognitive analytics with the heart association's science-based metrics and health assessments, all delivered on Welltok's health optimization platform.

IBM says the program will be the first use of Watson technology for the study and prevention of cardiovascular disease.

The program will help assess both the employer's workplace health environment, as well as employee health based on AHA metrics. A key component to the technology is a new Workplace Health Achievement Index, which AHA also launched Monday.

Watson will analyze data from the Index to guide employers about how they can best support employee health, such as ways to design, tailor and deliver health benefits and health promotion programs to a workforce.

As for Welltok, the company's pitch is that the health industry can use social engagement tools and analytics to improve outcomes.

Welltok has been working with IBM for the last couple years around various analytics-driven healthcare initiatives. In early 2014, IBM's Watson Group participated in Welltok's $22.1 million venture round. Welltok and IBM had already forged a joint development pact the year prior.

One of Welltok's notable outputs is the CafeWell Concierge, which is powered by Watson's learning algorithms to figure out what health programs are most successful for lowering Body Mass Index and other health outcomes.

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