The three will emerge as healthcare's ruling triumvirate. Here's why.
Apple and IBM recently announced they were putting aside their 1980s rivalry to come together to develop a new set of business-facing mobile apps for iOS powered by IBM's big data capabilities and enterprise platform expertise.
One of the new partnership's main focuses is healthcare, says IBM's general manager for the public sector Dan Pelino. The healthcare-focused apps that will come out of the partnership will "make patient information mobile, and it will be safe and secure," he says. "It will be enterprise solutions that take advantage of the mobile device [iPhones and iPads] and the security and scale IBM is known for."
The partnership brings together two companies that have been rapidly expanding their presence in the healthcare industry. Beside being "under the covers" of many health IT system implementations, IBM has been working with several healthcare providers to use Watson's natural-language processing capabilities to improve care delivery with some impressive results, and has offered some healthcare app developers access to Watson's application programming interface to expand the use of the technology.And Apple recently announced HealthKit, a consumer-facing mobile health-tracking platform able to integrate with other health apps and monitoring devices to help users more easily monitor their own health.
What has made both companies' forays into healthcare that much more formidable has been their close relationships with Epic. Epic has partnered with Apple before on EHR apps and worked with Apple on HealthKit, paving the way for providers' Epic systems to integrate with the platform and opening up possibilities for remote monitoring and care coordination. IBM, already involved in about 80 percent of Epic implementations, recently tightened its ties to the electronic health record giant when the two announced a joint bid for the Department of Defense's EHR modernization contract (according to an InformationWeek article, a feature of the bid is iOS support).
Mr. Pelino is quick to clarify that Epic is not an official part of the new Apple-IBM partnership, though says the three companies will continue to work together. And together, I think they will emerge as healthcare's new leaders.