Yesterday, IBM announced the creation of the Watson Health medical imaging collaborative. This global initiative unites 16 leading health systems, academic medical centers, ambulatory radiology providers and imaging technology companies – including Merge Healthcare – with the aim of assisting physicians in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions such as breast cancer, diabetes and heart disease. The members’ combined efforts will help Watson to extract insights from previously ‘invisible’ unstructured imaging data which will be combined with a variety of data from other sources. The end result may help physicians make personalized care decisions for specific patients while building a body of knowledge to benefit broader patient populations.
Merge Healthcare is proud to be a founding member of the Collaborative. Following the announcement, we caught up with Merge General Manager, Nancy Koenig, to talk about the company’s role, what it means for Merge, and the future of cognitive imaging.
Describe the expertise that Merge brings to the Collaborative.
Merge will contribute a wealth of experience in delivering standards based medical imaging solutions to market. Our clinical expertise, approach to software architecture, design for clinical efficacy, and customer-focused deployment and support methodologies are several of the ways in which Merge will meaningfully contribute to the Collaborative.
Merge is an IBM company, but also a member of the Collaborative. What is the distinction?
The Collaborative is an opportunity to work closely with industry leaders – both providers and vendors – to deliver breakthrough solutions. It is Watson Health's and Merge's strategic intent to serve the entire market, not only the segments we serve today. In order to have a dramatic impact on healthcare, it is imperative that providers and vendors come together to drive with a common vision. As we have in the past, Merge will strive to deliver products that improve physician efficacy and patient outcomes.
What does the announcement of the Collaborative mean for Merge?
Today’s announcement is the next step toward the realization of Merge’s vision: to deliver breakthrough solutions to the enterprise imaging market. We do this in support of Watson Health’s aim to serve as a catalyst to help improve lives of people around the world, and help lower healthcare costs through the power of cognitive insights.
What does this mean for Merge clients?
Merge has a long and successful history of delivering vendor neutral technology while still maintaining differentiated solutions to our clients. The ability to work side by side with some of our top health system clients as a part of the Collaborative provides tremendous benefit to our business.
Why is cognitive important, and why now?
The medical imaging market is in need of a technological breakthrough. Reimbursement rates are declining, procedure volumes are increasing, the amount of data available to physicians can be overwhelming, and outcomes are the new standard of quality. We need to give physicians better solutions for delivering quality patient care, cognitive solutions that handle the repeated processes and assist the physician by advancing the diagnostic process.
To read the press release and learn more about the Watson Health medical imaging collaborative, please click here