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IBM Watson Health, FDA Partner to Further Cancer Research

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IBM Corporation IBM owned cognitive system division, IBM Watson Health has teamed up with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for research on the application of blockchain technology to enable efficient, secure and scalable health data exchange.

The objective of the research initiative will be to study the exchange of health data across various platforms such as Electronic Medical Records (EMR), genomic data, clinical trials as well as health data from wearables, mobile devices and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Initially, the technology will be applied to oncology related data.

International Business Machines Corporation Price and Consensus

International Business Machines Corporation Price and Consensus | International Business Machines Corporation Quote

Application of Blockchain in Healthcare

Simply put, a blockchain is a chain of blocks, where each block represents an electronic record that cannot be revised or tampered with once it is included in the chain. Additionally, each block has its own timestamp and a link to an earlier block in the chain, which enables all the parties to have easy access to information via a secure network.

With the help of this technology, both healthcare providers and researchers will have access to a more complete view of the patient data that will enable them to provide better healthcare solutions. Moreover, blockchain technology will allow patients to share their health data with their healthcare providers or with researchers that could pave the way for groundbreaking advancements.

What Does This Mean for IBM?

IBM has been taking a lot of initiatives of late for advancements in cancer research. Recently, the company’s cognitive system IBM Watson Health partnered with Illumina to achieve better interpretation of genome data through the integration of Watson for Genomics with Illumina’s tumor sequencing protocol and the BaseSpace Sequence Hub. (Read More: IBM Watson Partners with Illumina to Advance Cancer Research)

Per a marketsandmarkets.com report, the blockchain market is estimated to be worth $2312.5 million by 2021. Moreover, as per an IDC report, worldwide spending on cognitive systems and artificial intelligence is estimated to be over $47 billion by 2020, up from nearly $8 billion in 2016 that represents a CAGR of 55.1%.

Given the popularity of IBM’s technologies in implementing blockchain and its cognitive system IBM Watson, there is huge potential for growth in the long run. However, with the presence of big players like Alphabet GOOGL owned Google’s DeepMind, Amazon’s AMZN Amazon AI and Microsoft’s MSFT Artificial Intelligence and Research Group, stiff competition persists in the space.

Stock Performance Overview

Shares of IBM have underperformed the broader Zacks Computer Integrated Systems industry over the last 12 months. While the industry generated a return of 36.1%, the stock gained 26.2%.

The underperformance of the stock could be due to the ongoing and heavily time-consuming business model transition to the cloud. Further, sluggish IT spending, particularly in on-premises and data center hardware, and foreign exchange volatility are the primary concerns. Also, intensifying competition in the cloud is a major headwind.

Zacks Rank

At present, IBM carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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