AHA, IBM Watson Health and Welltok to bring heart health management to the new level

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The American Heart Association (AHA) is teaming-up with IBM Watson and Welltok to develop what it says is a “first of its kind workplace health solution” that leverages cognitive computing. Said solution would combine AHA’s science-based metrics and health assessments with cognitive analytics, delivered on Welltok’s health optimization platform. The effort is intended to help alleviate the burden of cardiovascular diseases, which affect more than 85 million Americans today.

Core to the offering is a new Workplace Health Achievement Index that uses best practices to measure and rank corporate health initiatives, assessing companies on their workplace health culture. Watson will uncover cognitive insights by analyzing data from the Index to provide guidance on how an employer can support employee health, such as informing how corporations design, tailor and deliver health benefits and health promotion programs that maximize the health of the workforce.

An individual employee will access Welltok’s platform, either on their phone/tablet or from the web, to complete AHA’s My Life Check questionnaire and connect other health tracking apps and devices. From there, Welltok will be able to provide personalized recommendations to help the individual make healthy choices that could reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease.

Core to the offering is a new Workplace Health Achievement Index that uses best practices to measure and rank corporate health initiatives.“With this program, individuals and their employers will be able to benefit from a personalized, cognitive solution designed to help improve heart health and reduce healthcare costs,” Eduardo Sanchez, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer for Prevention, American Heart Association, said in a statement. “Our hope is that we can set a new standard for continuous quality improvement in workplace health.”

Beyond providing Watson’s computing power, IBM will integrate the offering into its employee wellness strategy.

“This is the first time Watson is taking on heart health, and we look forward to working with more members of the AHA CEO Roundtable who serve as models for best in class corporate heart health initiatives,” said Kyu Rhee, MD, MPP, Chief Health Officer, IBM Watson Health.

Heart disease accounts for 1 in 3 deaths and more than $312.6 billion in annual health spending and lost productivity. Poor diet, lack of regular physical activity and other major risk factors for heart disease and stroke are responsible for at least 25 percent of employers’ healthcare costs.