Merge offers bevy of new products at RSNA 2009


IT products ready for market and ones nearing commercial release punctuated the Merge Healthcare booth at the RSNA meeting.

IT products ready for market and ones nearing commercial release punctuated the Merge Healthcare booth at the RSNA meeting. Two works-in-progress vied particularly well for the attention of visitors. One is the eFilm for iPhone, an image-enabled supplement to the electronic medical record. The second is the company's FusionWeb Patient Access Portal, which delivers an Internet-based means for web-savvy patients to manage appointments, update records, receive appointment reminders, and view reports.

As the name suggests, the new Merge WIP is designed for use on Apple's iPhone, but it can also work on that company's iPod touch. Development of the application grew from physicians' increasing reliance on mobile devices for communication. The goal is to allow radiologists to connect directly with their eFilm Workstations by providing a mobile link through which to view study lists and images as well as manage tasks.

The FusionWeb Patient Access Portal requires no software to be installed on a user's PC, because the portal is powered by the company's new “zero-client” FusionWeb technology. This zero-client technology taps into web-based software to do the heavy lifting behind jobs.

Building on its zero-client technology, Merge showcased its Cedara WebAccess. The zero-client web platform brings images into the EMR by allowing their wide area distribution via local health information exchanges (HIEs) and regional health information organizations.

Cedara WebAccess uses a standards-based approach to integrate data from multiple clinical repositories without the need for expensive proprietary interfaces or data duplication. The images and results are seamlessly delivered to clinicians, according to Merge, as part of the patient's chart in an EMR or HIE portal. This portal can be opened using desktop or tablet computers, as well as smart phones, such as an iPhone or a BlackBerry. MergeCOM-3 toolkits are also available for software development in both DICOM and HL7 standards.

Rounding out the Merge exhibit was technology already proven in the marketplace, although not by Merge. Through its corporate acquisition of Confirma, completed September 1, 2009, Merge now has in its portfolio the CADstream family of computer-assisted detection products for the analysis and interpretation of breast and prostate MR. Joining enhancements of these applications at the RSNA meeting will be an application designed specifically for the liver. This application features automated 3D image registration, segmentation, kinetic and diffusion-weighted imaging analysis, patient monitoring comparisons, and reporting.

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