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IBM makes further inroads into the medical field

We have focused a number of our posts this year to mergers and acquisitions. We find these transactions fascinating not only because of how many of them are projected to take place between now and the end of 2015, but also because of the different business reasons behind them. We noted in a post last week that brand changing may not always take place with an acquisition, but sometimes broadening a company’s offerings may justify the purchase of another company.

One example of this is IBM’s $227 million purchase of Merge Healthcare. Merge is a company that helps doctors and hospitals store and analyze data from CAT scans, x-rays and other medical images. With more critical medical information being stored electronically, a merger between a world-class computer company and a medical imaging specialist probably makes sense. 

Essentially, IBM believes that it can harness the power of its super-computer, Watson, to read and analyze electronically stored medical data. IBM representatives indicate that Watson can differentiate between brain scans, but the company largely lacked access to the images, as well as the patient records that could help in streamlining the process of merging information.

With the power of Watson to help in analyzing medical information, IBM hopes that its acquisition of Merge will help doctors in making quicker, more accurate analyses using artificial intelligence.

Time will tell as to whether initial diagnoses will change with this technology. In the meantime, IBM is poised to make additional partnerships with the likes of Johnson & Johnson and Apple to bolster its foray into the medical field. 

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