IBM sees Watson as a primary care provider's assistant

IBM is prepping Watson to work alongside primary care physicians and streamline processes. The company also added features to its Watson-based health cloud services.

IBM aiming to make Watson a helper to primary care physicians as it expands its cognitive computing footprint.

At the Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference, IBM outlined plans to connect Watson to primary, acute and behavioral data to get a complete view of a patient.

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That Watson-primary care provider connection is being rolled out in Central New York in a six-county region and more than 2,000 providers.

Meanwhile, Atrius Health, based in Massachusetts, will embed IBM's cognitive computing tools inside its electronic medical records workflow for primary care providers.

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The Watson health care news comes as CEO Ginny Rometty will give a keynote at the conference. Rometty will outline how blockchain technology has a role in healthcare and Watson's latest developments.

On the product front, IBM said it is enhancing its Watson Health cloud effort with a HIPAA-compliant data platform as a service, a new edition and data center locations.

IBM's Watson Platform for Health is designed for health and life sciences companies with the ability to work for both business executives and data scientists in health care.

There will also be support for HIPAA-enabled mobile applications, compliance tools and a Watson-based service to comb through unstructured data such as a physician's notes.

In addition, IBM launched a Watson Health Consulting unit to help health care providers use machine learning, data science and analytics.