IBM buys medical image company Merge Healthcare

IBM Corp is in the works for buying medical image company Merge Healthcare Inc., a deal valued at $1 billion.

IBM plans to combine Merge Healthcare with its own newly created health analytics unit that is powered by the very well-known Watson supercomputer, according to Reuters.

The data and images from Merge Healthcare’s medical imaging management platform will fit in with Watson’s cloud-based healthcare computing system.

Watson is able to analyze high volumes of data and comprehend extremely complicated questions in turn providing fact-based responses.

The connection of the two companies is planned to assist physicians and researchers as they gather and analyze data such as a patient’s medical history, people with similar symptoms and other clinical research that could help them in treating their patients.

“Imaging is central to effective diagnosis and treatment … but it is increasingly important to share these images between providers to deliver high quality, cost-effective care,” Dougherty and Co analyst Brooks O’Neil wrote in a note.

Whether some people knew it or not, IBM has long been expanding in the healthcare IT sector aggressively. The deal with Merge is not the first time the company has made a health-related acquisition. This deal will be their third since they launched the Watson Health unit earlier this year.

“Organically, we will continue to build and invest from a research perspective in core technologies,” said Stephen Gold, vice president, IBM Watson.

“We will compliment and supplement that with acquisitions,” Gold told Reuters.

IBM’s deal with Merge will give them access to over 7,500 U.S. healthcare-related websites. They view the platform as giving them the ability to create more personalized approaches to gather data, analyzing, diagnosing and monitoring specifically in orthopedics, cardiology and radiology.



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