IBM touts healthcare, retail analytics wins

IBM will outline two analytics wins in the key healthcare and retail verticals.

IBM on Wednesday will outline two analytics wins in the key healthcare and retail verticals.

Big Blue is going after those industries in a big way. The company plans to use its Watson supercomputer to help better diagnose patients. And in retail, IBM has doubled down on commerce as its next big market.

On the healthcare front, IBM will announce that Southwest Texas Medical Associates (SETMA), a healthcare group in Beaumont, Texas, was able to cut hospital readmissions by 22 percent in six months with analytics software and better data collection.

In a nutshell, SETMA used IBM's software to spot treatment disruptions and reasons for patients to be readmitted. These boomerang patients add to healthcare costs. SETMA took data from 7,500 patients such as background information, demographics, treatments, prescriptions and risk factors to track trends. This data---in addition to more frequent cardiovascular risk testing---allowed the healthcare system to better predict heart age scores and allow patients to compare their health to a broader group.

The idea behind SETMA's analytics effort is to provide more preventative care and keep patients from being readmitted.

On the retail front, IBM said that Price Chopper is using the company's Netezza appliances to better analyze shopping trends for better promotions.

This IBM Netezza deal is more along the lines of traditional data warehousing. Teradata has multiple wins at large retailers such as Lowe's and Wal-Mart. IBM is pitching faster and less expensive data warehousing with its Netezza appliances.