On Thursday, IBM and Aetna jointly launched a service designed to help hospitals improve patient care by making use of electronic medical records and other digital data.
IBM said the service would help physicians access patients' health data—such as previous medical records, claims, and lab data—from multiple sources and quickly determine the best treatment.
The service incorporates IBM's analytical software and is designed to flag overdue check-ups and alert doctors about which patients in their care need immediate attention. The services could help reduce medical mistakes, as well as unnecessary tests and treatments.
Additionally, the service measures physicians' and hospitals' performances against national standards. Physicians who demonstrate better-quality and lower-cost care could win higher reimbursement from insurance companies.
The healthcare market, which is estimated to be worth $20 billion, is a key business opportunity for IBM.