IBM's new US$1B acquisition will help Watson 'see'

The addition of Merge's imaging data could advance personalized medicine, IBM says

IBM expects its acquisition of Merge Healthcare to give Watson the ability to "see."

IBM expects its acquisition of Merge Healthcare to give Watson the ability to "see."

IBM plans to buy Merge Healthcare in a US$1 billion deal that promises to bring new image-focused capabilities to its Watson Health platform.

Under the terms of the acquisition, which was announced Thursday and is expected to close later this year, Merge shareholders will receive $7.13 per share in cash. The deal is IBM's third and largest major health-related acquisition since it launched its Watson Health unit in April.

Merge's technology provides medical image handling and processing and is currently used at more than 7,500 U.S. health care sites. IBM plans to use its Watson Health Cloud to analyze and cross-reference Merge's medical images against lab results, electronic health records, genomic tests, clinical studies and other health-related data sources amounting to 315 billion data points and 90 million unique records.

In effect, IBM believes the combination of the two firms will help advance its Watson cognitive computing system beyond natural language and give it the ability to "see." The goal, it said, is to shed new light on current and historical images, electronic health records and data from wearable devices.

Armed with the new capabilities, clinicians, for example, will be better able to efficiently identify options for the diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of health conditions such as cancer, stroke and heart disease. Researchers, meanwhile, will gain new insights to aid clinical trial design, monitoring and evaluation, IBM said.

Overall, the combination could better equip providers in radiology, cardiology, orthopedics and ophthalmology to deliver more personalized approaches to the diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of patients, it added.

Late last month IBM partnered with CVS Health with a focus on using predictive analytics to help manage chronic diseases. Its other health-related acquisitions this year have included Phytel and Explorys.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags business issuesIBMhealth careSoftware as a servicecloud computingindustry verticalsinternetMergers and acquisitions

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Katherine Noyes

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?