Article Title

Watson Health: A New Approach to Population Health and Research

Publication Date



big data, population health


Background/Aims: The population health management movement requires key strategies be employed by some of the nation’s largest and most prestigious physician groups and health systems (most included in the HCSRN) to automate the management of their populations and improve health outcomes. Watson Health represents a health information technology (IT) and big data insights approach to enhance patient experience, management and outcomes. We bring together common data sources for evidence that is consistent across platforms, including payers, providers and pharmaceuticals.

Methods: Utilizing advanced analytics and IT structures, Watson Health data infrastructure management allows physicians and researchers to gain insights from existing data assets. Built on top of the enterprise data warehouse, interface strategies such as Explorys and Phytel have been built and instituted at several organizations. We have established trusted data for all stakeholders in the health care ecosystem to provide evidence that is needed for the collaboration between all aspects of health management and life sciences development.

Results: With the Explorys and Phytel tools, we were able to build tools to assist physicians and other care-team members. Data from registries, other providers, pharmacies, claims and laboratory sources was used to identify gaps in care that needed to be filled. Identification of specific patient populations can easily be identified for care alerts, clinical trial eligibility, research enrollment or follow-up at a huge time savings for the care team and research staff.

Conclusion: To create a sustainable health care system that provides affordable, high-quality health care to all, a population health management approach like that offered by Watson Health needs to be adopted by physicians and outcomes validated by health care research. Current electronic health records lack many of the features required to improve population health; therefore, new technologies are important to reach the overarching goal to improve population health.




June 30th, 2016


August 12th, 2016