Just a week after announcing that it had partnered with CVS Health, IBM has purchased Merge Healthcare, a medical imaging software company. The purchase will allow Watson to include images in its data set, vastly expanding the system’s capabilities. In healthcare, medical images are usually considered as separate from a patient’s medical data. While a radiologist scans dozens of MRI’s, x-rays, and CAT scans, they are typically only looking for abnormalities in the scan, and the information in the image is rarely ever paired with patient records. These patient records include information such as family and health histories, drug regimens, and current treatments a patient may be undergoing.
The integration of Watson into this process will allow for doctors to pair body scans with patient records, and cross reference the two with other recently-published studies in order to detect abnormalities or conditions that could potentially be overlooked.
(Source: New York Times)