IBM's Watson-powered wellness app with Pathway Genomics enters alpha release

The app focuses on a wellness report compiled from a bevy of data sources, such as a user's genetic test, health habits, and health tracker information from the likes of Apple HealthKit.

Image: IBM

A little more than a year ago, IBM's Watson unit invested an undisclosed sum in Pathway Genomics, a provider genetic testing services, in order to spur development of a consumer-facing, Watson-powered wellness app that could glean insights from a user's DNA.

On Thursday, the two companies announced that the app -- dubbed Pathway Genomics OME -- is now in a closed-alpha phase, a very early stage of release.

Like other Watson-powered implementations in healthcare, the app taps into Watson's cognitive computing and deep learning capabilities to create a system that adapts to each user and builds a personalized approach to preventative medicine.

For the alpha version, Pathway Genomics says the app focuses on a wellness-based diet, exercise and metabolism report compiled from a bevy of data sources, such as a user's genetic test, health habits, and wearable and health tracker information from the likes of Apple HealthKit.

Eventually, the app will allow users to opt-in to include additional information, such as their electronic health records and insurance information.

For IBM, the app is the tech giant's latest push to position Watson at the forefront of medical innovation. Just this week during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, IBM announced a partnership with Medtronic, a maker of medical device and technology services, to develop a cognitive computing prototype for measuring a patient's insulin and blood glucose levels.

Big Blue also inked a deal with athletic apparel brand Under Armor to power a future version of UA's Record app, a dashboard tracking a bevy of health and fitness statistics ranging from hours slept to calories burned during a workout.

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