In one of its biggest announcements in the recent past, tech biggie IBM has informed that it has agreed to pay the whopping sum of $1 billion for taking over the medical imaging firm Merge Healthcare. IBM is planning to fold the newly acquired company into its Watson Health unit.
IBM has informed that right now, a total of 7500 healthcare facilities in the United States use Merge’s technology. To date, the firm has processed billion of images (around 30 billion to be more precise), which include MRIS, CT scans, x-rays, etc. The number is only increasing with every passing day.
According to estimates put forward by IBM researchers, as much as 90% of all medical data used today come in the form of images. This proves the worth of the work Merge has been doing.
Right now, Watson has its focus primarily on comprehending natural language processing, whether the language is processed in writing or as spoken words. Watson has performed quite well too. However, John Kelly, the senior VP of IBM’s solutions and research department informed that IBM has recently starting working to allow Watson comprehend videos and pictures.
The tech giant has decided to take over Merge Healthcare primarily to show the world this new feature of Watson and for providing new understanding and research in the field of radiological diagnostics.
Last spring, IBM announced Watson Health is hoping that it will provide the world with a unique variety of data-driven healthcare. According to IBM, the process will allow medical professionals to work along with Watson for optimizing (at least theoretically) healthcare experience.
In today’s scenario, the amount of facts and figures medical professionals need to deal with is truly mind boggling. These days, medical records might include up to thousands of pages, which makes it almost impossible for a human medical practitioner to read through all those pages and understand the content quickly. Medical images, on the other hand, often become too complex to comprehend quickly. IBM has come up with Watson Health to solve all these issues.
By adding an eye to Watson, IBM will be allowing it to help doctors in interpreting and understanding all kinds of complex medical images quickly.
It is believed that Watson will be particularly helpful for the radiologists as they are facing maximum challenges due to the growing amount of data.