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IBM Watson Health Hires Health IT Vet Paul Tang as Chief Health Transformation Officer

May 27, 2016
by Rajiv Leventhal
| Reprints
Paul Tang, M.D.

Paul Tang, M.D., former vice president and chief innovation and technology officer at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation in California, has joined IBM Watson Health as its vice president and chief health transformation officer.

In a blog post under his new title at IBM, Dr. Tang, a well-respected healthcare technology expert, said healthcare is “at a moment in history when simply improving what we currently do won’t get us where we need to go. We cannot change our position as a country with the world’s most expensive healthcare producing such poor outcomes by simply improving upon our current system. It won’t work. What we need now is disruptive innovation, and it requires collaborations amongst providers, individuals, families, payers, life sciences – and technology companies. IBM established Watson Health to address this opportunity and to serve as a catalyst for and collaborator with health and life sciences entities worldwide.”

Indeed, according to a Business Insider story, Tang’s job will be to use Watson, IBM’s cognitive computing entity, in a way that will help set up a personalized healthcare system. In February, Watson Health announced that it would be acquiring Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Truven Health Analytics, a provider of cloud-based healthcare data, analytics and insights, for $2.6 billion. Truven represented IBM’s fourth major health-data related acquisition since launching the Watson Health unit in April 2015, following Phytel (population health), Explorys (cloud-based healthcare intelligence) and Merge Healthcare (medical imaging).

In his blog post, Tang said, “I see our role at IBM as a partner with the multiple stakeholders in healthcare who directly and indirectly influence the health of individuals and communities, all working collaboratively to improve health and lower costs. I see the potential of Watson Health to help us collectively discover what matters most and see my mission as Chief Health Transformation Officer to make a difference with that insight. I invite others to participate.”

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