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IBM Sells Part of Watson Health

IBM is selling part of its Watson Health business to Francisco Partners, an investment firm, according to the Wall Street Journal.

IBM launched Watson Health in 2015 to bundle patient information into a database to help guide personalized healthcare. It then offered a service to identify cancer treatments or clinical trials based on patient data, literature review, and expert review.

But Stat News reported a few years later that the Watson for Oncology program was underwhelming and sometimes provided inappropriate advice. That issue was traced to the training the program received that may have led it to rely more on physicians' preferences than on the data.

According to Bloomberg, this sale, which encompasses datasets and imaging software for more than $1 billion, represents a "scaling back the technology company's once-lofty ambitions in healthcare." It adds that IBM plans to focus more on cloud computing, even as its rivals in that space continue with their healthcare ventures.