IBM Acquires Merge Healthcare To Upgrade Watson Medical Capabilities

IBM Acquires Merge Healthcare To Upgrade Watson Medical Capabilities

IBM Corp. announced that it has agreed to purchase medical image company Merge Healthcare Inc. for the price of $1 billion and combine it with the company’s newly established health analytics division that is powered by its Watson supercomputer.

The technology company said that it plans to acquire images and data collected from Merge Healthcare’s own medical imaging management system and combine them with IBM Watson’s cloud-based health care computing program.

Watson’s system is designed to analyze large volumes of data, interpret complex questions stated in natural language and provide answers to these questions based on available evidence.

The new agreement between IBM and Merge Healthcare will allow researchers and physicians to collate and examine various data such as the family and medical history of a patient, data on other patients with similar symptoms of illness and clinical studies, trials and findings.

Brooks O’Neil, analyst for Dougherty and Co., stated that imaging is a vital aspect to effective diagnosis of illness and treatment. He added that it is increasingly important, however, to share images between health care providers to provide high-quality, cost-effective care.

The deal with Merge Healthcare is part of IBM’s efforts to aggressively expand in the sector of health care information technology. It is the technology company’s third primary acquisition related to health since the launch of its Watson Health division in April.

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