CVS brings doctor-like IBM computers to 7,800 stores

CVS Health (NYSE:CVS) has announced an initiative with IBM to bring Watson cognitive computers to 7,800 stores. The computers' predictive analytics will help provide care management services for patients with chronic diseases.

The IBM supercomputer looks at data from a mix of health information sources, including a person's medical health records, prescriptions, environment and fitness devices. Then, the computer offers an analysis of how to improve that patient's health. In addition, the technology hopes to find users that are at risk for illnesses before they've gotten sick and help them create a prevention program, Business Insider reported.

Examples of chronic diseases that Watson can help with include hypertension, heart diseases, diabetes and obesity—all representing 86 percent of the nation's $2.9 trillion in annual health spending.

"CVS Health and IBM are both committed to improving health and finding ways to engage individuals in their well-being through the use of information and technology," said Troyen Brennan, MD, exec-VP and chief medical officer for CVS Health.

"This partnership will enable us to leverage advanced technologies and key health information to develop a tool that can be applied by a variety of health care providers such as pharmacists, nurse practitioners at MinuteClinics or connected health care providers—and that can help our pharmacy benefit management clients improve member health and manage cost."

The Watson computers will be placed in all CVS stores, including nearly 1,000 walk-in clinics, putting it in front of some 70 million people.

CVS has been on the fast-track when it comes to using technology to enhance its stores and services. Last month, the chain announced the opening of its digital innovation lab in Boston. And earlier this year, CVS released an updated version of their mobile app, which includes more personalization and a better toolbar for navigation.

For more:
-See this Business Insider article
-See this IBM press release

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