Merge’s technology is used by more than 7,500 healthcare sites in the U.S., according to the Armonk, N.Y. based company.
Now Merge’s know-how will be added to the Watson Health Cloud mix to provide “new insights from a consolidated, patient-centric view of current and historical images, electronic health records, data from wearable devices and other related medical data, in a HIPAA-enabled environment,” according to IBM’s statement. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is a regulation designed to protect patient data confidentiality.
IBM (IBM) has already bought Phytel and Explorys, to bolster its Watson health initiative and last week announced CVS as a major Watson health partner.
Watson, sometimes known as IBM’s cognitive computer, has become a focal point, perhaps the primary focal point, of IBM’s effort to prove it’s still at the forefront of technology innovation.
If there’s a high-profile application where a self-teaching computer can make a splash, Watson is there, playing Jeopardy, devising recipes, but IBM execs have acknowledged that they need to find money-making applications for the slick technology as opposed to cool demos. Healthcare, obviously, is a potentially huge market.
What is less clear is how much traction Watson is having in the field and how much money IBM is reaping from these investments.
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