RSNA 2015: Merge showcases the future of radiology

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The annual RSNA conference took place in Chicago last week and Merge was ever present, demonstrating the future of universal imaging. At RSNA, Merge focused on the upcoming changes in radiology. With medical imaging pervasive across the continuum of care, the volume of images can be overwhelming to clinicians and expensive to manage. Merge has the medical imaging management foundation which (through IBM’s acquisition of Merge) will integrate with the IBM Watson Health platform to unlock the value of medical images and help enable physicians to make smarter decisions about the patient care they provide.

The Vision of the Future
If you had the chance to stop by the Merge booth, you may have seen the vision of Merge and IBM Watson Health through a Work in Progress Watson Health “Concept Car” – Code Name: Avicenna. This demo showed our vision of futuristic technology using the Merge PACS™ workstation in which a radiologist opens an exam from the Universal Worklist (UWL) and both the PACS viewer and the IBM Watson Health work in progress are launched in separate monitors to show respective content. The ultimate output from the tool in the form of a pre-populated radiology report is then presented to the radiologist to review and consider when making his or her decisions. The integrated technologies, which add rich image analytics with deep learning to the Watson Health platform, will advance Watson beyond natural language and help give it the ability to “see.”

Code Name: Avicenna caused quite the stir at RSNA; back-to-back crowded demonstrations and extended media coverage, including a Future in Progress blog post and an article in the Chicago Tribune featuring IBM Watson Health’s General Manager, Deborah DiSanzo, who discussed how Watson will help radiologists look at images and compare them with a patient’s electronic health data. 

Exploring Perceptual Design
Merge’s vision of the future didn’t end with Code Name: Avicenna at RSNA. Merge’s Chief Medical Officer, Murray Reicher, M.D., also introduced a few Work in Progress “Concept Cars,” including a mobile app that enables a direct two-way connection with customers, a new prototype app that replaces typical PACS review stations’ input device with unique mobile devices, and “perceptual design” applied to PACS review stations to optimize radiologists’ cognitive capabilities.

New Partnerships to Strengthen Interoperability
In addition to the exciting vision of the future, Merge announced exciting new partnerships with two leaders in Specialty Benefits Management: Aim Specialty Health and eviCore healthcare. These partnerships allow our customers to streamline their processes to obtain imaging study prior authorization from payers by reaching AIM and eviCore technology within the iConnect® Network Services platform. The partnerships will consolidate the prior authorization processes of multiple insurance payers who cover a total of more than 150 million insured individuals, and use one comprehensive platform to electronically route imaging orders, manage incoming prior authorizations, and communicate imaging results. 

Ongoing Innovation and New Solution Offerings
Merge also showcased its core solutions at RSNA, including iConnect® Access 6.0 and its enhanced performance, our customer-led design of ambulatory radiology solutions to streamline daily workflow and improve efficiency, and our vendor neutral archive (VNA) which helps organizations easily collect, manage, archive, and present growing volumes and variances of patient images. 

RSNA 2015 was a bonafide success for Merge, and we will continuously innovate to provide solution offerings that ensure our customers can achieve success as they navigate the evolving healthcare landscape.

Originally posted on: 12/8/2015 3:01:38 PM

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Kayley Weinbaum
Kayley Weinbaum is Integrated Marketing Manager for Watson Health Imaging.

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