Enterprise Imaging Blog

Posted by Kathleen Schroeder on 12/6/2017 2:15:10 PM

6 Ways a VNA Can Reduce Imaging Costs
Medical imaging is one of the most costly components of patient care. Data from the American College of Radiology indicates that diagnostic imaging accounts for 10 percent ($100 billion) of total annual healthcare costs¹. At least part of these staggering costs can be attributed to the fact that so many exams simply shouldn’t have to happen. In fact, researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA, have estimated that a significant amount of studies—nearly 9 percent—are unnecessary or redundant².
 

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Posted by Shannon Reilly on 11/17/2017 7:22:44 AM

Big Promises with Big Data
As an ophthalmologist with a passion for health IT, P. Lloyd Hildebrand, MD, FACS, has thought a lot about the use of artificial intelligence in clinical practice. So as he and his colleague, H. Jay Wisnicki, MD, delivered a talk on the subject earlier this month at AAO 2017, Hildebrand was fairly certain that he could predict what his audience’s biggest question would be.

“It’s usually something like, ‘Are machines going to replace us?’ And my answer is always the same,” says Hildebrand, professor emeritus in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Oklahoma. “This technology isn’t going to take away our jobs, it’s going to empower us and our profession. It’s going to make us better physicians, and it’s going to allow for better healthcare.”
 

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Posted by John Hansen on 11/8/2017 2:00:43 PM

Shedding Light on Dark Data and the Shadow EHR
The following is the third installment of a four-part blog series on vendor neutral archives (VNAs). If you missed the earlier installments, click on the links for Post 1 and Post 2.

It’s safe to say that Electronic Health Record (EHR) adoption has happened in the U.S. The trend started long ago and accelerated thanks in part to the HITECH Act and ‘meaningful use.’ And while we may not all agree on why it happened or what fueled it, EHR adoption levels in the U.S. are quite high and continue to grow globally as well.
 

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Posted by Watson Health Imaging on 10/26/2017 11:26:57 AM

Watson Health Wins Minnie for Best New Radiology Software
AuntMinnie.com rolled out the virtual red carpet on October 25, announcing the winners of the 2017 Minnies. The awards, which celebrate the best ideas and brightest minds in radiology, recognized numerous contributions that are advancing a future shaped by augmented radiology. IBM Watson Health is proud to have been recognized for our work in this field, taking home the award for Best New Radiology Software for IBM Watson Imaging Clinical Review.
 

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Posted by Watson Health Imaging on 10/18/2017 11:52:44 AM

How Orthopedic Practices Can Benefit From a Cloud-Based Imaging Archive
In today’s orthopedic market, practices are facing significant growth in patient volumes, mainly due to an aging population. Given the corresponding growth in medical imaging, and the fact that images are essential for accurate care decisions, many orthopedic practices are seeking robust and cost-effective information systems capable of recovering data during unforeseen disasters while economically storing and managing images with other providers. A cloud solution can help.

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Posted by John Hansen on 10/10/2017 9:21:39 PM

Security and Compliance for All Unstructured Patient Content
The following is the second installment of a four-part blog series. To read Part 1, please click here.

An often overlooked – or perhaps taken for granted – benefit of VNA is security and compliance for all unstructured patient content. There is a lot to chew on in that sentence. Let’s break it down.
 

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Posted by Devyani Bedekar on 10/2/2017 9:29:02 AM

Connecting Medical Imaging with Patient History Through Cognitive Computing
The reading room reality
Radiologists spend just one third of their time on image interpretation. For the majority of the day they are either supervising studies, performing image-guided procedures, teaching, in meetings, consulting with physicians, or directly caring for patients. Their work day is dynamic and full of interruptions, making effectiveness in the reading room an ongoing challenge.

Being efficient and productive in the dark room becomes increasingly important when radiologists encounter rare and complicated cases that require knowledge of patient history to complement the evaluation of medical images. This often means searching for patient information by manually sifting through multiple, extensive, disorganized and disconnected EMR records. Moreover, the situation is exacerbated by the fact that approximately 80% of patient data is unstructured (e.g. notes and reports). Reading and understanding this data in order to uncover clinical meaning relevant to the imaging study at hand, disrupts radiologists’ workflow and takes up valuable time. In an age of increasing demands on reading physicians, this is a burden they can hardly afford.  
 

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Posted by John Hansen on 9/18/2017 2:33:19 PM

Vendor Neutrality: What does it really mean and why is it important?
The following is the first installment of a four-part blog on Vendor Neutral Archives (VNAs).

I often find myself in conversations with casual observers of VNA, (not VNA geeks like myself), who have a general notion of the technology, which can be summarized simply as a ‘place where we store our images.' While this is fundamentally true, it’s important to peel back layers of the onion and explore why VNA is such an important place to store ‘things,’ and in the process perhaps explain why the VNA adoption trend continues in full force.
 

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Posted by Mark Bronkalla on 8/28/2017 4:50:32 PM

A Walk on the Patient’s Side: How Enterprise Imaging Can Help
In Part I of this two-part blog, Mark Bronkalla described a series of challenging medical encounters involving his wife’s recent hip replacement. Throughout the ordeal it became clear, in a very personal way, that a comprehensive imaging strategy could have dramatically improved the experience and outcomes. Below, he delves into the tools and processes that could help others facing a similar situation. To read Part I, please click here.
 

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Posted by Mark Bronkalla on 8/15/2017 9:09:01 AM

A Walk on the Patient’s Side: A Personal Medical Imaging Story
The following is Part I of a two-part blog.
 
Over the course of the last year, I had the opportunity to co-author a couple of HIMSS & SIIM Enterprise Imaging White Papers. Our team included various end users, industry solution experts, and DICOM/IHE committee members. Together we developed a number of specific use cases and workflows, however, it wasn’t until a recent personal experience, that my eyes were opened to additional use cases that we hadn’t yet thought of. For me, and my wife, a frustrating series of medical events reinforced the need for seamless enterprise imaging and universal image sharing.
 

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Posted by Kathleen Schroeder on 8/9/2017 1:04:35 PM

Make Your Smart Phone Smarter
Two years ago, I finally caved in and purchased an iPhone. Over time, I learned how to use other features besides email and chat, and now I can’t imagine how I survived without it. What I didn’t realize, however, was how valuable my iPhone could be for doctors.

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Posted by Watson Health Imaging on 7/31/2017 10:35:55 AM

A Guide to Optimizing Safety & Performance for Imaging IT Implementation
Implementing and maintaining medical imaging IT systems requires continuous clinical surveillance and diligence. In the absence of formal processes and clearly delineated job descriptions, poor decisions can be easily (and innocently) made by those acting without input from other essential stakeholders. So, how can organizational leaders help ensure proper clinical oversight?

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Posted by Kayley Weinbaum on 7/12/2017 12:50:23 PM

Who benefits from orthopedic  digital radiography?
In recent decades, technological changes have transformed the way healthcare is delivered across the industry. In the orthopedic space, the shift to digital radiography (DR) has led to significant improvements, including simplified processes, faster image acquisition, and improved image quality.
 

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Posted by Watson Health Imaging on 6/28/2017 8:40:31 AM

The Role of the Cloud in Healthcare Disaster Recovery
Why is disaster recovery important in healthcare? Because patient lives depend on it. Although this answer may seem simple, healthcare organizations often overlook the importance of planning for the worst.
 

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Posted by Julie Pekarek on 6/22/2017 10:07:53 AM

Creating Connections to Build Better Solutions
At a trade show last month, a customer approached me and said, "I was just bragging about you! Remember that dinner a few years ago in Colorado?"  She went on to tell me that her business had acted on an idea we discussed that night, and that it brought over a million dollars of revenue into the practice. In addition, another person at the dinner collaborated with her on the same idea, which brought new revenue to both practices.
 

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Posted by Kathleen Schroeder on 6/12/2017 9:35:21 AM

Health IT: It's All About the Future
When meeting with customers during SIIM 2017 in Pittsburgh last week I was often asked, "What are your long-term plans for Watson Health Imaging?" and "How is Merge positioned to support the integration of mobile technology at my organization?" I wasn't surprised that the future of healthcare was on everyone's mind, especially since the theme of SIIM 2017 was Bridging the Transformation to a New Era in Healthcare. If you stopped by the Merge booth, you saw that in many ways, the future is already here. Here are a few highlights:


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Posted by Watson Health Imaging on 6/8/2017 12:12:51 PM

When Change Brings Opportunity: A Merge Cardio Case Study
The 2013 merger between Edward Hospital & Health Services and Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare created one of the largest health systems in Illinois. As is often the case with this type of amalgamation, executives of the newly named Edward-Elmhurst Healthcare faced numerous integration challenges and had to determine the best way to maximize each organization's strengths. Thankfully, one thing that required little effort was deciding on a cardiology system.


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Posted by Murray Reicher, MD FACR on 5/24/2017 10:22:01 AM

Osteoporosis and Imaging Screening
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, osteoporosis (which literally means porous bone) is quite common.  Approximately 54 million Americans live with the condition or have osteopenia (low bone mass, and a risk factor for osteoporosis).  The condition is expensive, with forecasts estimating that by 2025, osteoporosis will result in three million annual fractures and $25.3 billion in annual U.S. costs. 
 

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Posted by Devyani Bedekar on 5/22/2017 9:09:39 AM

IBM Watson Imaging Clinical Review: What Administrators and Clinicians are Saying
IBM Watson Imaging Clinical Review is the first cognitive solution from Watson Health's medical imaging business. To understand customer perceptions of Watson Imaging Clinical Review, we asked a select few members of the Watson Health Medical Imaging Collaborative to put it under the microscope. Over a total of 22 hours, we met with 38 professionals from 6 institutions: 5 clinicians, 6 radiologists, 15 administrators and 12 IT leaders for 30-40 minutes each. Here's what they had to say.


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Posted by Kayley Weinbaum on 5/17/2017 9:44:58 AM

The Tangible Benefits of a Paperless Registration Organization
Merge recently attended the Radiology Business Management Association (RBMA) Paradigm conference in Chicago. Among the show's hottest topics was the importance of hassle-free registration, and Merge was honored to co-lead a compelling panel discussion entitled, "The Tangible Benefits of a Paperless Registration Process."


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Posted by Watson Health Imaging on 5/8/2017 11:17:10 AM

How One Imaging Center is Reducing Claims Denials Through Automated Preauthorization
Park Avenue Radiologists (PAR) was the first private medical practice to bring MRI & CT imaging technology outside of the hospital setting in Manhattan. Although PAR strives to provide patients with the best medical care, health insurers' manual authorization processes were starting to come between sound clinical judgment and a patient's clearly indicated care. Between delayed wait times, too many payment claims denials, and a time-consuming preauthorization process, the PAR staff knew it was time for a change.


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Posted by Kathleen Schroeder on 4/28/2017 2:46:05 PM

One Billion Images in the Cloud: A Merge Milestone
One billion images in the cloud. It's a milestone that's difficult to envision but easy to take pride in. Merge recently hit this mark – with over 100 clients – securely storing a billion images in our iConnect® Cloud Archive. And while milestones can mean different things to different people (and organizations), at Merge, this accomplishment exemplifies the value and importance of protecting our clients, their patients, and an extraordinary amount of data.
 

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Posted by Kayley Weinbaum on 4/13/2017 2:28:29 PM

Why it's Time to Re-evaluate Your Preauthorization Strategy
The complicated process of manually securing preauthorizations takes up valuable time and resources. It's no wonder then, that a growing number of organizations are automating their ordering systems to help providers enter imaging orders in real-time for same day results while removing the burden of manual preauthorization.
 
 

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Posted by Anne Le Grand on 4/6/2017 3:48:58 PM

Merge Brings IBM Watson Imaging Clinical Review to Market
The first cognitive solution from Watson Health's medical imaging business, IBM Watson Imaging Clinical Review, is generally available to healthcare providers as of today. We at Merge are proud to have collaborated on this innovative new solution and are excited to be among the first organizations to bring it to market for healthcare provider organizations.

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Posted by Murray Reicher, MD FACR on 3/30/2017 9:06:09 AM

The  Role of IT in Improving Breast Cancer Outcomes
February was National Cancer Prevention Month, an excellent platform to dispel the many myths about cancer and improve knowledge of the disease. While a great deal of important information was disseminated last month, cancer education is a year-round endeavor, making now as good a time as any to reflect on some of the ways in which information technology can prevent cancer and improve outcomes. Let's begin with cancer prevention in general, then dive a bit deeper into breast cancer in particular.


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Posted by John Hally on 3/27/2017 10:47:02 AM

Interoperability: The IHE  Connectathon and Beyond
What is interoperability?
In the age of mobility, interoperability is paramount to patient care. Virtually everyone has a smart phone, and information and people are constantly on the move.


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Posted by Watson Health Imaging on 3/21/2017 10:57:33 AM

Digital Radiography: Embracing the Change, Reaping the Rewards
For many who attended AAOS (American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons) in San Diego last week, the issue of decreasing reimbursements was a hot topic and one that ranked high on the priority list for practices to address. After all, those still using analog equipment will face a 20 percent reduction in reimbursements this year, followed by a 7 percent cut in 2018 for using computed radiography (CR) instead of digital radiography (DR).
 

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Posted by Kayley Weinbaum on 3/13/2017 1:19:47 PM

Top Five Industry  Drivers for Orthopedics
Keeping up with the rapid pace of change in healthcare is challenging but essential, and understanding factors like demographic shifts, technological improvements and government initiatives are critical to the success of any orthopedic practice.  In a recent Becker's Spine Review article, Merge Solutions Manager, Troy Oliphant, explored a number of important trends that will impact the orthopedic market in 2017. Below are a few to consider.
 

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Posted by Adam Lipson on 3/2/2017 3:10:51 PM

What’s getting in the way of better workflow?
Whether it's government mandates, evolving technology, shifts in the workforce or the rise of cognitive capabilities, there is no shortage of change in the healthcare industry – and no sign of it slowing down. And while change is often a good thing, it can also bring new challenges and obstacles as those working in radiology have experienced, firsthand. With regard to workflow management in particular, a number of challenges are impeding the path to greater practice efficiency and physician satisfaction.
 

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Posted by Lee Harrop on 2/28/2017 9:00:19 AM

Is the human heart more than just a pump?
In the blink of an eye, I can look back on a 40 year career in the amazing (and sometimes crazy) world of cardiology. As a clinician, I've seen many remarkable changes in the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease. Over the years I've learned a lot and had the honor to work alongside some of the most brilliant minds in the field. It has been an unbelievable journey and I am thankful for it every day.

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Posted by Barbi Green on 2/20/2017 12:12:54 PM

HIMSS17 Spotlights Merge’s Cognitive and Core Capabilities
Given the constant drive to innovate, time moves pretty fast in the medical imaging industry. It should come as no surprise then that the annual Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference, HIMSS17, is here once again. Held this year from February 20-22 in Orlando, Fla., HIMSS is the largest health IT conference in North America, with 43,000 people and 1,200 exhibitors expected to attend. We at Merge are excited to be back at HIMSS as the show provides a great opportunity for us to connect with our valued clients, forge new business relationships, and shine a spotlight on how Merge solutions address some of the most prevalent and pressing challenges in health IT.


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Posted by Watson Health Imaging on 2/10/2017 10:38:22 AM

Risky Business: The Perils of Neglecting Enterprise Data Management
Smartphones and tablets are becoming just as common in the hands of clinicians as they are in the hands of today's teenagers. Many clinicians – especially younger care providers – are using them to collect medical images and now expect to have access to all kinds of imaging data on their mobile devices.

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Posted by Kayley Weinbaum on 2/3/2017 7:56:30 AM

Merge Named Best in KLAS – Six Years and Counting
Merge is proud to share that the 2017 Best in KLAS: Software & Services report has named Merge Cardio™ and Merge's iConnect® Enterprise Archive Best in KLAS for the cardiology and VNA/image archive categories, respectively. In addition, Merge Hemo™ has been named the KLAS Category Leader in cardiology hemodynamics. This marks the sixth consecutive win for Merge Hemo, fourth consecutive win for Merge Cardio, and second consecutive win for iConnect Enterprise Archive.

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Posted by Murray Reicher, MD FACR on 1/24/2017 12:04:14 PM

Raising Quality and MIPS Compliance for Imaging Specialists
In my last blog, I described the history of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) EHR Incentive Program and Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). Here, we'll explore what the new mandate will mean in terms of requirements and options for participation.

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Posted by Watson Health Imaging on 1/10/2017 2:26:47 PM

Singapore National Eye Centre is Breaking Down Siloes Across Specialties
The healthcare industry is quickly evolving, shaped by factors such as increasing global demand and significant advancements in imaging technology. Staying on top of these changes and securing the best tools and strategies to address them is critical to the success of any industry provider.

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Posted by Watson Health Imaging on 1/6/2017 8:48:21 AM

Why You Need to Build the Clinical Case for Comprehensive Enterprise Data Management
Electronic medical records (EMRs) have made it possible to provide clinicians with access to a patient's medical history, or a patient's truth, at the point of care. However, these electronic systems only tell part of the story – not the whole truth that is required to make informed choices. Today, medical images often become part of an organization's "dark data" – the information that remains inaccessible at the point of decision. But this critical data doesn't have to live in
the shadows.

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Posted by Watson Health Imaging on 12/22/2016 9:24:42 AM



Posted by Murray Reicher, MD FACR on 12/14/2016 8:48:00 AM

Out of the ashes of the stock market crash of 2008 came a jobs program, the American Redevelopment and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, designed to help put people back to work, including people in healthcare who were willing to comply with evolving national healthcare goals by manufacturing specific healthcare software or by meaningfully implementing such technology.  The Feds set up private credentialing organizations for EMR vendors plus an incentive payment system (The EHR Incentive Program), and "meaningful use (MU)" was born. Despite hiccups and complaints about its administrative complexity and implementation costs, the MU program led to revolution in U.S. healthcare information technology, including two
key achievements:

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Posted by Watson Health Imaging on 11/21/2016 10:23:26 AM

The Journey to Cognitive Imaging Solutions
By Nancy Koenig and Murray A. Reicher, MD FACR

Cognitive computing involves self-learning systems that use data mining, pattern recognition, and natural language processing to mimic the way the human brain works. Instead of a software engineer devising an algorithm that remains static, cognitive systems can perform evolving tasks previously reserved for humans. The resulting opportunities are incredibly exciting.

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Posted by Jeff Felkey on 11/18/2016 9:16:04 AM

Diabetes, Retinal Screening and the Future of Eye Care
It has been said that the eyes are the window to the soul, but for healthcare providers eyes can reveal so much more. Retinal screening, in particular, has become a powerful tool for the early diagnosis of various conditions including the nation's seventh leading cause of death – diabetes. In 2012, 29.1 million Americans, or 9.3 percent of the population, were living with the disease. That same year, the total costs of diagnosed diabetes reached $245 billion1. The numbers
are staggering. 

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Posted by Watson Health Imaging on 11/10/2016 8:59:21 AM

What's Driving the Orthopedic Market?
America is changing – and we're not talking about politics. Along with the aging of almost 75 million Baby Boomers comes a host of health-related issues that will be shaping our healthcare system for years to come.

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Posted by Watson Health Imaging on 10/28/2016 3:30:45 PM

AAO 2016: 4 Key Takeaways
Last week was The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) 2016 annual conference held at McCormick Place in Chicago. The event brought together eye physicians and surgeons from all over the world to share knowledge, network, and learn about best practices and new developments in ophthalmology.   

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Posted by Watson Health Imaging on 10/25/2016 8:27:44 AM

Q&A: Future of IT and Practice Analytics
Healthcare information technology has evolved at a rapid pace over the past 15 years, and Shannon Marshall, Solutions Manager for Merge Healthcare, has had a front-row seat observing this remarkable transformation. In the latest issue of the RBMA Bulletin magazine - excerpted below - Marshall shares her thoughts on what is happening now in IT and what lies ahead in the future.

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Posted by Falon Greer on 10/18/2016 1:32:32 PM

Living My Best Life in the Shadow of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer. Those two words send a small chill up my spine. As a woman, it's at the top of the list of potential ways I may become ill, or even die. Breast cancer has already struck two women in my family: my aunt and my grandmother, both twice. My grandmother's frail, 87-year old chest, which once fed each one of her seven children, is now flattened from a double mastectomy. It is a stark reminder that something that nourishes life can also take it away. She is a survivor. My aunt was fortunate enough to escape the grip of breast cancer with radiation. She is a survivor. But I wonder, what did they survive? To survive implies an outside attack, an invader or enemy wishing to do you harm. But that's not what this is. Breast cancer is an attack from within, on itself, a "friendly fire" of sorts. Unfortunately, that's only one of the battles women need to fight to survive this war. The other battle is a lifelong, persistent one that surrounds us all each and every day. It's the battle of fear and confusion.

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Posted by Devyani Bedekar on 10/10/2016 1:21:57 PM

Watson Health Imaging: Striving for a revolution in global healthcare
Steve Tolle, VP and Chief Strategy Officer, Watson Health Imaging, addresses the audience at Merge Live 2016.

Given the explosion of medical images in recent years, what’s expected of radiologists – from a data processing standpoint alone – has become untenable. 

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Posted by Murray Reicher, MD FACR on 10/6/2016 7:38:54 AM

How to Successfully Manage Your Imaging IT Partner
Although I'm now employed full time as the Chief Medical Officer of Merge, for most of my 38 years in healthcare, I worked full time as a radiologist, performing diagnostic and interventional procedures. Throughout my career as a physician, I also developed and helped run imaging centers, and participated in the management of a hospital radiology department. So, while today, I spend much of my time thinking about how as a vendor-partner I can help our healthcare customers succeed, for much of my career, I had a different perspective and goal—making sure my vendors were supporting and enabling my practice's success.  What follows are tips to help guide these important partnerships.

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Posted by John Clarke on 10/1/2016 8:10:12 AM

Grace is Gone: The ICD-10 Period of Relaxed Rules is Over
As you may know, October 1 is the anniversary of the ICD-10 switch over, and thus, ends the ramp up or 'grace' period.  The relaxed approach payers have taken throughout the delicate switch from ICD-9 to ICD-10 also coincides with the finalization of MIPS1, which will come later this fall.  With these initiatives looming, the question everyone is asking is simple: 'Is my organization ready to embrace these changes?

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Posted by Barbi Green on 9/26/2016 9:42:12 AM

It’s National Health IT Week, and across the country healthcare stakeholders are recognizing and celebrating the impact of technology on this dynamic industry. To mark the occasion we decided to talk with some of the brightest women we know – here at Merge, at IBM and within our valued client base. We asked them what it’s like being a woman in HIT, how the field has changed over the years, and advice they’d offer to young women considering a career in STEM or HIT. They were insightful, witty, open and optimistic, and their observations and words of wisdom are well worth sharing.
 

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Posted by Watson Health Imaging on 9/23/2016 12:25:06 PM

How to set the stage for imaging practice growth
As reimbursement challenges grow for outpatient imaging, many practices struggle to remain profitable. However, with the right technology, it’s possible to stay ahead of the curve. One organization, Outpatient Imaging Affiliates (OIA), is meeting the challenge head on, turning a difficult reimbursement landscape into a period of growth while also improving efficiency.

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Posted by Kayley Weinbaum on 9/19/2016 11:52:34 AM

Merge Live by the Numbers
Last week, Merge hosted its annual client conference in Chicago. Designed with customers in mind, the conference provided numerous opportunities to learn from Merge experts and customers, deepen product and industry understanding, and focus on the solutions and best practices that matter the most. We believe it was our best Merge Live to date, but the numbers speak for themselves.

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Posted by Barbi Green on 9/13/2016 11:13:18 AM

Merge partner, RAD-AID, to launch medical hybrid airship program
Artist rendering

Dan Mollura, M.D., earned the admiration of hundreds of attendees at Merge Live last week. As the closing keynote speaker at Merge’s annual client conference, Mollura spoke of his journey from Wall Street analyst to radiologist to non-profit founder, detailing the creation and incredible impact of RAD-AID, the charitable organization he formed to help bring radiology and imaging technology to developing and impoverish countries around the globe.

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Posted by Watson Health Imaging on 8/31/2016 2:00:50 PM

Top Five Reasons to Replace Your PACS
Workflow, patient volume, and practice needs are constantly evolving. It’s important to find solutions that can adapt to the changes within your organization without disrupting your business.

The latest version of Merge PACS™ can help by allowing you to maintain your business continuity, streamline your workflow, and simplify your breast imaging hardware. Is it time to considering upgrading your current technology? Check out the top 5 reasons to upgrade to Merge PACS 7.1.

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Posted by Watson Health Imaging on 8/25/2016 3:46:39 PM

7 Reasons to Upgrade Your Clinical Reporting Solution
Ever thought about how much clinical reporting can improve radiologist productivity? With an effective solution in place, a radiologist can save up to 75 minutes per day. That’s a significant amount of time radiologists can spend reading more studies, rather than generating reports.

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Posted by Murray Reicher, MD FACR on 8/9/2016 10:44:39 AM

When it comes to medical imaging, what do patients know and want?
In a 2015 issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology1, authors from NYU Langone Medical Center reported their survey results related to patients’ understanding of their own imaging exams.  

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Posted by Watson Health Imaging on 7/27/2016 11:35:36 AM

How one imaging center improved prior authorization to help patients, referring physicians, and its practice.
Imaging Specialists of Charleston, a radiologist-owned, full service medical imaging center in South Carolina, faces stiff competition in its region, specifically from a trio of hospital-based imaging providers. But the imaging center has stepped up to the challenge since opening in 2008 by focusing on its patients.

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Posted by Murray Reicher, MD FACR on 7/19/2016 2:16:02 PM

Tips for Clinical Leaders
As the old saying goes, “Organizing physicians is like herding cats.” So why would anyone want to be a clinical leader? What tips can help a leader success?

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Posted by Barbi Green on 7/15/2016 12:49:18 PM

RAD-AID, Merge make medical imaging a reality in developing countries
“Medical imaging is fundamental to almost everything healthcare does,” says RAD-AID president and CEO, Dr. Dan Mollura.

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Posted by Audrey Veitas on 7/8/2016 10:56:27 AM

Patients, Processes, Policies, and Progress: Reflecting on SIIM 2016
Last week, many of the biggest names in medical imaging informatics came together in Portland, Oregon for the Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine (SIIM) annual meeting, where they discussed the future of the field. The conference was full of insightful presentations from those on the leading edge of imaging IT.

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Posted by Kayley Weinbaum on 6/25/2016 8:14:08 PM

5 ‘Must Dos’ at SIIM 2016
Trekking out to the west coast for SIIM 2016 next week? While your plans may include exploring Portland’s finest Japanese gardens and gourmet donuts, there is also plenty to learn about imaging informatics at the annual conference. With this year’s theme centered on leading change, we expect some truly interesting presentations from an array of industry experts.

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Posted by Barbi Green on 6/23/2016 10:42:22 AM

Merge Joins IBM and Watson in Medical Imaging Collaborative
Yesterday, IBM announced the creation of the Watson Health medical imaging collaborative. This global initiative unites 16 leading health systems, academic medical centers, ambulatory radiology providers and imaging technology companies – including Merge Healthcare – with the aim of assisting physicians in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions such as breast cancer, diabetes and heart disease. The members’ combined efforts will help Watson to extract insights from previously ‘invisible’ unstructured imaging data which will be combined with a variety of data from other sources. The end result may help physicians make personalized care decisions for specific patients while building a body of knowledge to benefit broader patient populations. 

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Posted by Watson Health Imaging on 6/2/2016 8:41:46 AM

Is it safe to relax on ICD-10?
Considering the industry-wide concern ahead of the October 1, 2015 implementation of the International Classification of Disease, Tenth Edition (ICD-10) coding standards, the transition seems to have gone relatively smoothly. Generally, the worst case scenarios - interruptions in practice cash flow and negative impact on coder productivity - did not happen, which is great news to hear.

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Posted by Watson Health Imaging on 5/26/2016 9:55:22 AM

Recap: ACR 2016 in Review
The American College of Radiology (ACR) concluded its 2016 annual convention last week in Washington, DC. For better or for worse, this year’s event left many attendees with more questions than answers, including: 

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Posted by Watson Health Imaging on 5/25/2016 1:41:41 PM

Leading children’s hospital fully integrates its image archive
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC), a 600-bed academic medical center, faced the dual challenges of long-term image storage and lack of true disaster recovery for full-fidelity images. With the implementation of Merge interoperability solutions, these important issues were addressed, workflow was improved and CCHMC now plans to further expand its archive beyond radiology and cardiology, across all specialties. 

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Posted by Matt Opad on 5/9/2016 9:51:48 AM

A Reality Check for Server Side Rendering
Server side rendering is the talk of the medical imaging world today.  The basic premise being that server side is faster and more efficient than client side rendering.  Since servers typically have faster processors than workstations, there are situations where this is completely true.

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Posted by John Clarke on 5/2/2016 2:09:51 PM

RBMA Spring Radiology Summit 2016: Highlights from Colorado Springs
Every spring, the Radiology Business Management Association (RBMA) hosts an informative summit with networking and educational programs for leaders across the industry. The conference, held in a picturesque valley in Colorado Springs, took place just six months after ICD-10 was mandated throughout the U.S., putting added pressure on radiology businesses in a constantly evolving healthcare environment.  

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Posted by Watson Health Imaging on 4/28/2016 1:22:07 PM

10 Reasons to Improve Your Referral Management System
Did you know that 46% of patient appointments go unscheduled with manual referrals? And when it comes to referring physicians, more than half are dissatisfied with the scheduling processes for specialists. Faced with these challenges – and many more – it’s imperative that physicians find solutions that close the referral loop, grow their businesses, and save valuable time so they can focus on providing the best possible patient care.

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Posted by Murray Reicher, MD FACR on 4/20/2016 10:28:37 AM

Investing in Physician Leadership
When it comes to medical imaging, one of the most important investments any medical group, imaging center, hospital, or integrated delivery network can make is in physician leadership.  

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Posted by Watson Health Imaging on 4/14/2016 3:09:22 PM

10 Reasons You Should Re-evaluate Your Prior Authorization Strategy.
​Every year, $40 billion worth of payments are lost to write-offs.  With government mandates and payer guidelines growing more complex, providers can’t afford to forfeit reimbursements from claims denials. To streamline prior-authorization amidst the complexity of clinical decisions and payer policies, providers must seek better ways to handle their processes. 

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Posted by Watson Health Imaging on 4/11/2016 11:37:02 AM

Easier. Better. Faster: The convergence of convenience and cardiac care
Convenience. We’ve come to expect it throughout all facets of life – and across industries, convenience is being delivered in abundance. The catch-phrase, “there’s an app for that” still rings true as people across the globe turn to technology to simplify their lives and save them precious time. From having groceries delivered to your door to cashing a check on your phone, consumer markets have embraced a fast-and-easy philosophy, and the medical world has taken heed.

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Posted by Murray Reicher, MD FACR on 4/7/2016 9:41:48 AM

Don’t Forget the Patient

Many diagnostic radiologists today have little or no patient contact. How did this happen?

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Posted by Watson Health Imaging on 4/5/2016 2:23:19 PM

How one hospital consolidated workflow and streamlined PACS for breast imaging
Hill Country Memorial Hospital in Fredericksburg, Texas is an 86-bed, community supported hospital focused on compassion, innovation, accountability, and stewardship. The hospital was challenged with disjointed workflow for breast imaging and mammography reading across multiple reading stations.

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Posted by Michael Klozotsky on 4/2/2016 7:39:29 AM

St. Charles Health System Selects Merge Healthcare to Further Enhance Cardiology Care for Patients
We are happy to announce that in its search for a comprehensive cardiology imaging solution, St. Charles Health System has chosen to collaborate with Merge Healthcare. St. Charles Health System, located in Bend, Oregon, will leverage Merge Cardio™ and Merge Hemo™ across its four hospitals to streamline workflows and enhance patient care.

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Posted by Barbi Green on 3/31/2016 8:40:01 AM

Cardiology in the era of consolidation
It’s no secret that consolidation is a growing trend in healthcare industry. Since the Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2010, mergers and acquisitions have ballooned, and according to a report by Irving Levin Associates, such activity increased by 14% in 2015, totaling 1,498 transactions – a new record for deal volume in M&A. 

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Posted by Michael Klozotsky on 3/22/2016 2:12:37 PM

Cancer Treatment Centers of America Chooses Merge Healthcare as its Sole Radiology Imaging Vendor
We are excited to share the news that Merge Healthcare has recently collaborated with Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) in a multi-phase deal that aims to optimize workflows and increase efficiency. CTCA will leverage Merge’s iConnect® Enterprise Archive, a 2015/2016 Best in KLAS winner, iConnect® Access, Merge PACS™ and Merge CADstream® for end-to-end imaging solutions. This will position CTCA and Merge to collaborate further on other initiatives, as it relates to imaging across its health system.

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Posted by Kayley Weinbaum on 3/18/2016 12:25:27 PM

HIMSS16: Four Key Takeaways

HIMSS16 was expected to be the larges­t national healthcare IT show, uniting healthcare leaders from across the world to transform the way patient care is delivered through information technology. The show brought over 40,000 industry leaders together and with no surprise, did not fall short of expectations.


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Posted by Julie Pekarek on 3/15/2016 11:38:25 AM

Connectathon spotlights interoperability in action
Earlier this year, our Merge RIS™ developers successfully participated in the recent Connectathon sponsored by Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE), where Merge Healthcare was the first vendor to pass IHE’s new Clinical Decision Support (CDS) profile testing—a profile Merge and our clients had a big hand in developing. This is a major step forward in our long journey toward ensuring efficient compliance with an important industry mandate.

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Posted by Kayley Weinbaum on 2/25/2016 10:24:14 AM

Your Journey through the Merge Healthcare Booth at HIMSS
HIMSS16 begins next week. With a vision to better health through information technology, HIMSS promises to deliver a different conference from previous years’ shows. For starters, a 40 degree spike in weather from last year’s conference in Chicago should put a smile on the faces of those traveling from colder climates.  Furthermore, it’s not an everyday occurrence for a (not one, but two-time) Super Bowl winner, Peyton Manning to deliver a healthcare IT conference keynote speech. Most importantly, HIMSS16 will bring together healthcare leaders from across the world with the same end goal: optimizing health engagements and patient care outcomes through information technology. Merge is excited to play a role in the HIMSS mission of developing innovative technology that will ultimately improve the speed and accuracy of healthcare delivery. 

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Posted by Murray Reicher, MD FACR on 2/10/2016 8:49:21 AM

From the Chief Medical Officer: The Collaborative Workstation is Coming
In 1982, when I started my radiology residency, doctors didn’t use computers. Most of us couldn’t type, but we did have some long-lost skills. We could flip a film onto a view box and shape a catheter using steam from a kettle. For greater reading efficiency, we used “alternators,” a wonderful contraption consisting of 25 or more glass panels driven by conveyor belts so that pre-hung films could be displayed in sequence. Nonetheless, alternators left plenty of room for improvement - they often mangled films, for example. Murphy’s Law mandated that the referring doctor on the phone always wanted to discuss the exam on the glass panel furthest away from display. 

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Posted by Michael Klozotsky on 1/28/2016 8:21:43 AM

Merge Healthcare Wins Four 2015/2016 Best in KLAS Awards
Earlier this morning, IBM Watson Health shared the exciting news that the 2015/2016 Best in KLAS: Software & Services report has named Merge Cardio™, Merge Unity RIS™ and Merge’s iConnect® Enterprise Archive Best in KLAS for the cardiology, radiology and VNA/image archive categories, respectively. In addition, Merge Hemo™ has been named the KLAS Category Leader in cardiology hemodynamics. This marks the fifth consecutive win for Merge Hemo, third consecutive win for Merge Cardio, and second consecutive win for Merge Unity RIS.

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Posted by Kayley Weinbaum on 12/8/2015 3:01:38 PM

RSNA 2015: Merge Showcases the Future of Radiology
The annual RSNA conference took place in Chicago last week and Merge was ever present, demonstrating the future of universal imaging. At RSNA, Merge focused on the upcoming changes in radiology. With medical imaging pervasive across the continuum of care, the volume of images can be overwhelming to clinicians and expensive to manage. Merge has the medical imaging management foundation which (through IBM’s acquisition of Merge) will integrate with the IBM Watson Health platform to unlock the value of medical images and help enable physicians to make smarter decisions about the patient care they provide.
 

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Posted by Falon Greer on 10/29/2015 10:02:40 AM

Transition from “mammography” to all encompassing “breast imaging”
On October 20, 2015, the American Cancer Society issued new guidelines recommend that less screening for breast cancer is better than more. In its wake, the debate around screening mammograms continues. The American Cancer Society now recommends women to begin screening at age 45, rather than age 40. For women of average risk over the age of 54, the annual mammogram recommendation has been reduced to biennial. The number of screening mammograms dropped by 5.72% within three months when the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) adjusted its screening mammogram recommendation age to 50. How will the ACS’s new guidelines affect your practice and how will you weather the “breast imaging storm?”

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Posted by Audrey Veitas on 10/22/2015 9:45:29 AM

Electronic Imaging Ordering: The Next Big Thing?
In only a few years, the electronic prescription revolution has had a profound impact on healthcare. From all paper in 2005 to 1.2 billion electronically transferred prescriptions in 2014, this technology experienced a steep adoption curve. For most of us, it’s become hard to imagine healthcare without automated prescriptions.

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Posted by Pete Nanos on 10/7/2015 9:59:12 AM

Healthcare needs “Ludicrous Mode”
Today I read an article about the new Tesla Model X. Being a car guy means that I immediately want to know how fast it can go. As it turns out it’s REALLY fast. An average minivan can go from 0 to 60mph in about 10 seconds. The Tesla Model X ‘Performance‘ model can go the same distance in 3.8 seconds. For a little more money, one can purchase the ‘Ludicrous Mode’ option, which makes it go the same distance in just 3.2 seconds! If you aren’t into cars, think of those skydiving videos that make the person’s face flap around… that’s how fast this is. Today, I can’t seem to find a parallel to this type of technology and advancement in healthcare. I won’t go so far as to say we are in the horse and buggy era, but we are behind. We need to figure out how to get to ‘Ludicrous Mode‘ in healthcare.

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Posted by Kayley Weinbaum on 9/29/2015 9:36:35 AM

When was the last time you evaluated your vendors on more than product feature and function? In today’s medical imaging environment, many other factors beyond the basic product scope must be taken into consideration when evaluating your partners. As health IT continues to advance daily, choosing a partner with a solid foundation of what it takes to be successful in this market is necessary. Read the infographic below to learn five reasons why Merge’s Enterprise Imaging Solutions provide the innovation and stability to manage all your critical patient imaging data.

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Posted by on 9/23/2015 10:22:10 AM

ICD -10. What does the Voice of the Customer say?
The October 1 transition to International Classification of Diseases and Conditions Volume 10 (ICD-10) is a big deal. But how do customers of radiology business management solutions actually feel about the switch on the eve of implementation? 

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Posted by Kayley Weinbaum on 9/17/2015 9:00:36 AM

Merge Live 2015 Client Awards
Merge held its annual client conference in San Diego, California, earlier this month. The 2.5 day occasion was filled with networking, collaboration, and learning among peers, partners, and Merge executives.  

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Posted by Watson Health Imaging on 9/15/2015 9:47:15 AM

A Look Back at Merge Live 2015
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” -- Dr. Seuss

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Posted by Falon Greer on 8/25/2015 8:43:29 AM

When Was the Last Time You Evaluated Your Breast Imaging Strategy?
For many years, mammograms have been at the center stage of all breast imaging. And while still an integral part of breast screening, new legislature is shaping the entire breast imaging workflow. With the rise in density awareness, mammograms are beginning to take a backseat to other modalities, such as ultrasounds, screening MRs, breast nuclear medicine, and of course, tomosynthesis. Now is the time to reevaluate your workflow, stay current with the changes, and provide the best, most efficient services to your patients.

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Posted by on 8/20/2015 8:52:11 AM

Two Approaches to Simplifying Radiology Accounts Receivable
Understanding your accounts receivable granularly can be critical for managing your radiology business’s finances, but sorting claims by narrow criteria can be a complex task. To address this problem, Merge Financials™ v7.1 release includes two new features — a Divisional Layer feature that allows customers to bill for multiple tax IDs under a single SQL database and a new A/R follow-up system in the Work Queues feature.

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Posted by Justin Dearborn on 8/6/2015 11:00:43 AM

We are very pleased to share some exciting news with you. Earlier today we announced that we have entered into a definitive agreement under which IBM will acquire Merge Healthcare. Through this transaction, Merge will become part of the IBM Watson Health unit. The plan is for the Merge management team to remain in place following closing. A copy of the press release issued this morning is attached, but I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you about the news directly and what it means for you.

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Posted by Kayley Weinbaum on 8/5/2015 8:23:45 AM

RBMA features iConnect® Network Services
It’s no secret that interoperability is a growing challenge for the health IT industry. Radiology Business Management Association (RBMA) interviewed Steve Tolle, Merge’s Chief Strategy Officer and President of iConnect® Network Services, to learn how iConnect Network Services addresses the challenges providers face when striving for interoperability success.

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Posted by Kayley Weinbaum on 7/29/2015 8:41:01 AM

Five Reasons to Attend Merge Live in September
If you’ve been in the healthcare IT industry long enough, you know that it’s important to stay connected with your partners and peers. The healthcare industry is evolving at a rapid pace; it is essential to continue learning the latest approaches for managing imaging strategies and meaningful interoperability. Merge is bringing together our clients for a face-to-face conference to facilitate knowledge sharing, provide solution updates, and network with industry experts to help healthcare professionals stay at the center of connected care and address common imaging challenges. 

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Posted by Murray Reicher, MD FACR on 7/23/2015 9:00:11 AM

Medical Imaging and Consumer-Driven Healthcare
While medical imaging specialists today find themselves under increased pressure to demonstrate value, the need to prove value is certainly not new to the medical imaging field.  In fact, the explosion of new imaging technology and resultant value to patient care are the chief reasons why medical imaging grew so rapidly over the past three decades.  Appropriate growth came from clinical deployment of technologies that benefitted patients (e.g., MRI, PET, Spiral CT, breast imaging, cardiac imaging, and interventional procedures).  Inappropriate growth came largely as a result of self-referral legal loopholes and defensive medicine.

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Posted by Michael Klozotsky on 7/14/2015 8:49:41 AM

Three Keys to Healthcare Interoperability Success
Interoperability is at the forefront of the fast-paced health IT industry, and medical imaging is one of its key components. Having an efficient imaging strategy in place is imperative, not only for revenue growth, but also for providing effective patient care. Although imaging will continue to play a significant role in healthcare, changes to payment models and new quality  measurements raise questions about imaging appropriateness. Some estimates suggest that as many as 30% of all images are unnecessary. The first step in improving both imaging efficiency and appropriateness is to invest in an adequate interoperability strategy.

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Posted by Pete Nanos on 6/30/2015 9:20:28 AM

Better Coordination of Care: a Win-Win for Providers and Patients
Healthcare organizations are feeling the impact of the shift from fee-for service to value-based care. By 2016, 85 percent of Medicare payments will be tied to quality and value, rising to 90 percent by 2018. Accountable care organizations (ACOs) and bundled payment models will play a central role in this shift as demand grows for better coordination of care across the healthcare continuum. Value-based reimbursements present healthcare providers—particularly imaging providers—with another opportunity to improve care coordination and realize greater financial rewards.

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Posted by Murray Reicher, MD FACR on 6/25/2015 8:41:10 AM

Understanding and Benchmarking Your Healthcare IT Costs
A logical paradox seems to currently apply to the understanding and management of healthcare information technology (HIT) costs: although healthcare providers face common problems, they don’t often collaborate in solving their problems in a common manner.

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Posted by Julie Pekarek on 6/2/2015 8:43:00 AM

Clinical Decision Support:  Building a Standardized Process for the 2017 Deadline
It’s no secret that IT standards in healthcare are changing rapidly. In addition to the evolving rules for meaningful use of HIT in the EHR incentive program, several current and proposed legislative actions are also mandating changes. The mandate on the use of Clinical Decision Support (CDS) is particularly important to imaging providers.  It's critical to stay informed about the changes so your imaging business can successfully meet the new Clinical Decision Support (CDS) market requirements.

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Posted by Watson Health Imaging on 5/24/2015 10:39:39 AM

Merge is traveling this spring. Are you?
If you are planning imaging-related trade show trips to Washington, D.C., Las Vegas, or Boston this spring, stop by and visit Merge at SIIM (Booth #222), RBMA (Booth #401) and ASE 2015 (Booth #412). We will be exhibiting at all three conferences and look forward to meeting with current and prospective customers to discuss new solutions and industry trends.

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Posted by Jon DeVries on 5/19/2015 10:13:49 AM

Distributed, Deconstructed, or Reconstructed: What You Need to Know about Today’s PACS
Enterprise's requirements for image management solutions are becoming more sophisticated and changing how providers view their Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS). Not that long ago PACS couldn’t do much more than ingest imaging studies and serve them up for radiologists to read, annotate, create key images and then archive—almost always to their own internal archiving systems. 

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Posted by Mark Bronkalla on 5/18/2015 11:42:48 AM

Reconstructing PACS to Deliver Optimal Performance and Integration
Some of today’s picture archiving communication systems (PACS) are capable of archiving images to a vendor neutral archive (VNA) and then pulling them back out when they’re needed. That’s pretty much all they can do—help providers move images around. In a world where sharing data for improved referral management and better patient care is increasingly important, healthcare organizations need smarter systems that do more than just move or store images.

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Posted by Watson Health Imaging on 4/7/2015 9:30:52 AM

Enterprise Imaging in a Deconstructed World
In an age when consolidation, mergers, and acquisitions are increasingly common, the concept of the deconstructed PACS addresses real challenges and resolves pressing issues. Larger radiology practices are emerging, changing the way hospitals purchase radiology professional services.
 

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Posted by Michael Klozotsky on 3/20/2015 8:01:34 AM

Today’s Strategies for the Future of Connected Care
While only a fool would claim that he could say with absolute certainty what the future holds, it doesn’t take fortune teller to see that success in the healthcare industry will increasingly favor the “connected” over the “disconnected.” In fact, a recent survey found that 85% of industry stakeholders expect mergers and acquisition activity to increase in 2015 – meaning the newly created entities need to communicate and share data, including imaging information, efficiently and appropriately to ensure financial and clinical success.


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Posted by Michael Klozotsky on 3/17/2015 11:49:22 AM

Six Reasons to Visit Merge Healthcare at HIMSS15
If you’ve been working in healthcare IT for any length of time, you know that HIMSS isn’t just another industry conference. It’s the biggest, most expansive collection of health IT companies, products, services, and solutions you’ll find gathered in one place all year. HIMSS15, taking place April 12 – 16 at Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center, promises to continue the tradition

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Posted by on 3/10/2015 9:01:18 AM

Merge Communities: A Front-row Seat to Future Radiology Solutions
In a recent post, my colleague Julie Pekarek discussed Merge Communities and some of the ways our customers use this online social platform to get quick answers to day-to-day radiology workflow questions from their peers and Merge Solutions experts. While Julie spoke specifically to our customers’ ability to work with their peers to solve issues, there are a number of other ways to leverage Merge Communities. Take, for example, Sheila Carroll, Lead Business Systems Analyst for Radiology Imaging Associates PC. Carroll, who is also president of Merge’s Financial Users Group, recently shared how the group helped her resolve what initially appeared to be an isolated problem with a financial application.

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Posted by Julie Pekarek on 3/4/2015 11:38:16 AM

Got the Radiology Workflow Blues? Merge Communities Has You Covered
How many times a week do you find yourself stumped by a question that—while not impossible to answer—really gets in the way of maintaining an efficient workflow? If you’re lucky, the answer is “not all that often.” But for many healthcare professionals, finding a solution to workflow obstacles can be challenging, especially when you need that answer fast.

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Posted by Mark Bronkalla on 2/2/2015 11:15:45 AM

How to Build a Better Workflow with Advanced Functionality PACS
Remember the days when all you could do with a telephone was call people—and only then from home, work, or a public phone booth?
 
Thanks to the power of innovation, today we can not only make and receive calls, but we can also buy, spend, read, watch TV, turn on the lights, and carry out any number of other functions from our smartphones.
 
Take a look around and you’ll see that much the same thing is happening with picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) technology. The days of limited cache sizes, having to pre-fetch imaging studies in order to work with them, bouncing around from one work list to another, and time-consuming, labor-intensive manual entry of users’ privileges and preference settings are swiftly coming to a close. In their place, a new era has ushered in advanced functionalities.

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Posted by Mark Bronkalla on 12/30/2014 11:17:31 AM

Leverage Your Enterprise PACS as a Workflow Engine
A recent article in Healthcare IT News on the topic of workflow engines really caught my eye.

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Posted by Branden Coleman on 11/4/2014 10:27:49 AM

Faster, Earlier Diagnosis of Diabetic Retinopathy Can Benefit Your Patients and Your Practice
According to the Centers for Disease Control, as many as 50 percent of patients with diabetic retinopathy are not getting their eyes examined or are diagnosed too late for treatment to be effective.

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Posted by Watson Health Imaging on 10/16/2014 1:04:56 PM

Integrated Clinical Image Viewing and Sharing Completes the Cycle of Care
It’s no secret—healthcare is changing dramatically right before our eyes. Physician practices are consolidating, hospitals are merging and effective image viewing and sharing are becoming more important than ever in a world where “meaningful use” of health information means more to the bottom line than many may realize. 

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Posted by Pete Nanos on 9/29/2014 11:22:55 AM

Advanced Interoperability delivers true two-way healthcare communication – and more
Consider how most medical image ordering and fulfillment typically takes place today. Most referring physicians usually fill out a requisition form and either give it to the patient or fax it to an imaging center. The imaging center then enters the order into its radiology information system (RIS) and contacts the patient to schedule the exam. Upon completing the exam, the imaging center then uses fax or point-to-point interfaces to transmit the results back to the referring physician’s office, where it is then routed to the patient’s electronic health record (EHR).

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Posted by Julie Pekarek on 9/10/2014 11:11:04 AM

A Collection of Advice for Medical Imaging to Survive and Thrive through ACO Engagement
Here  we stand, on the precipice of a new era marked by value-based care  and accountable care organizations (ACOs), and for all intents and  purposes, the jury’s still out on whether these new models will  succeed.

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Posted by Jon DeVries on 8/27/2014 7:28:00 AM

The Top Trends Driving Demand for Interoperability in Medical Imaging
Take a look around the healthcare landscape, and you’re likely to pick out three major trends that are disrupting the industry as we know it today: consolidation as a result of mergers and acquisitions, the emergence of electronic health records (EHRs) and the demand for greater connectivity among providers and patients. Let’s assess how these are driving the demand for advanced interoperability in medical imaging.

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Posted by Steve Tolle on 8/22/2014 11:12:33 AM

Doing Business in Today’s World: What Healthcare Can Learn from Medical Imaging
With the shift to value-based care and mounting regulatory pressures affecting the healthcare industry, healthcare organizations are looking for best practices to help them navigate today’s ever-changing environment. They don’t need to look far: medical imaging providers can offer their colleagues in the rest of healthcare a cogent picture of successful strategies.

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Posted by Watson Health Imaging on 8/7/2014 8:33:00 AM

Imaging Trends Uncovered: Enterprise Imaging v. Advanced Interoperability
The new series, “Imaging Trends Uncovered,” will dive into some of the high-level definitions of key words and phrases—simply from an educational perspective—that may be helpful to your medical imaging practice. Have a topic that you’d like to see us explore? Comment below and share with us some of the imaging trends you’d like uncovered. 

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Posted by Watson Health Imaging on 8/1/2014 8:37:58 AM

 Leveraging Social Media for Proactive Patient Outreach
At this year’s Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine (SIIM) Annual Meeting, one of the most popular sessions was titled, “Advances in Patient-centered Medicine.” The presentation focused on the growing popularity of electronic consultations (e.g., webcam), as well as the importance of Imaging 3.0 initiatives such as image sharing. But it was the portion of the session devoted to leveraging social media for patient outreach that really set hearts a-twitter (no pun intended).

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Posted by Branden Coleman on 7/25/2014 1:00:43 PM

Open Your Eyes to the Importance of a Retinal Screening Strategy
A question for all providers: Do you treat a significant number of patients with diabetes? If so, leveraging a retinal screening strategy could be worth considering to improve your overall care of these patients—not to mention enhancing your bottom line in the process.

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Posted by Bob Schallhorn on 7/7/2014 9:08:34 AM

Three Critical Components of a Hearty Cardiology Imaging Strategy
I recently had the privilege of contributing to an article on HIMSSwire regarding seven important issues that healthcare organization leaders must take into account as they strive to obtain the right cardiac imaging technologies and develop effective cardiology imaging strategies. 

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Posted by Julie Pekarek on 6/3/2014 12:10:39 PM

Proving Value: Keys to Medical Imaging Success for the Coming Era of Value-based Healthcare
Like their colleagues in other specialties, many radiologists still practice in a time when success depends largely on the volume of treatments and tests they can render. But the day is coming, in the not-too-distant future, when they can expect their livelihood to hinge more heavily on the value they bring to the table. Radiologists and their assorted specialties and sub-specialties, without question, have enormous potential to provide significant contributions in the value-based model of healthcare for multiple reasons. 

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Posted by Pete Nanos on 5/14/2014 4:03:21 PM

Tips for Devising and Implementing an Advanced Interoperability Strategy – Part 2
In part 1 of “Tips for Devising and Implementing an Advanced Interoperability Strategy,” we discussed what an advanced interoperability (AI) strategy is and why imaging providers of all kinds need one in order to survive and thrive in today’s increasingly challenging healthcare delivery climate. 

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Posted by Mark Bronkalla on 5/7/2014 10:39:10 AM

The Trend: IT Service Models Ease Shift of PACS to Enterprise IT
A session at this year’s HIMSS conference, and covered in a recent Auntminnie article, spotlighted the trend of moving imaging informatics away from radiology to enterprise IT, and the culture clash it can generate between the two departments.

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Posted by Pete Nanos on 5/1/2014 10:51:01 AM

Tips for Devising and Implementing an Advanced Interoperability Strategy - Part 1
Contending with the increasingly challenging healthcare delivery climate, providers of all kinds, including medical imaging practices, have been leveraging electronic health records (EHR) and enterprise-wide imaging strategies to help improve interoperability within their own systems, for quite some time. But, many of these providers are beginning to realize that now is the ideal time to begin leveraging advanced interoperability (AI) strategies to connect with referring physicians and institutions, networks and systems outside their own four walls.

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Posted by Bob Schallhorn on 4/2/2014 8:30:22 AM

Cardiology Goes to Washington
Given that the American College of Cardiology Conference (ACC.14) just wrapped up in Washington, D.C. on Monday, it’s worth taking a moment to reflect on how the measures of a successful cardiology practice and department have changed for the 21st century.

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Posted by Steve Tolle on 3/27/2014 12:27:55 PM

From Volume to Value: Strengthening the Imaging Value Chain
In a recent article from Journal of the American College of Radiology, a variety of authors make the argument that radiologists can and must assume a leadership role in shaping the U.S. healthcare system. They discuss that, as healthcare organizations turn their attention away from providers and volume to focus more on patients and value, radiology practices that “align their priorities accordingly will more likely achieve success” in this new healthcare environment. Enterprise-wide imaging strategies and interoperability can be a huge factor in the long-term success of a healthcare organization. But let’s consider a few of the other key points within the article… 

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Posted by Mark Bronkalla on 3/24/2014 8:43:10 AM

What Does a PACS Plug-in Mean for VNAs?
A handful of radiology departments still think of picture archiving communications systems (PACS) as standalone silos, focusing only on traditional or singular specialties such as general radiology, nuclear medicine, mammography, etc. But as the industry shifts to an increasingly electronic environment, more practices understand the critical need the critical need to share, store, archive and access images through an enterprise-wide imaging strategy.

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Posted by Merge Marketing on 3/11/2014 10:54:41 AM

HIMSS14 Trends Recap: A Look Back
Those of you who joined us at the HIMSS14 annual conference in Orlando, you’re probably still talking about it, especially if you’re building an enterprise-wide imaging strategy to address a growing list of regulatory and patient care demands.

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Posted by Merge Marketing on 2/18/2014 12:54:19 PM

Mark Your Calendars for HIMSS 2014: Top Sessions to Attend
Need a good work-related excuse to escape the punishingly cold temperatures and snows of winter for somewhere warmer and brighter? You can’t do much better than the 2014 HIMSS Conference and Exhibition in Orlando, Fla.

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Posted by Bill Klaver on 2/13/2014 1:37:16 PM

The Keys to Managing Data Standards and Image Interoperability
Many of us in healthcare find ourselves at an interesting crossroads…We know we need to bring a higher level of interoperability to our medical imaging processes, but we also know – or are at least beginning to realize – that it will take time, effort and money to do the job right and to do it well. 

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Posted by Steve Tolle on 1/31/2014 1:54:58 PM

2014: The Year of Interoperability
As we head into the New Year, it’s important to proactively consider the changes that are taking place within the healthcare industry. From the Affordable Care Act providing access to millions of previously uninsured Americans to the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 for medical diagnoses reporting, 2014 will bring about some of the most significant challenges within the healthcare market to date. How these challenges are met — or not met — could largely determine which providers are standing tall this time next year.

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Posted by Merge Marketing on 1/15/2014 3:56:51 PM

Ensure Your Enterprise Imaging Strategy Facilitates Mergers & Acquisitions
It’s been happening for a while now – big hospitals gobbling up smaller hospitals. Imaging centers being bought by health systems. The consolidation era is here…and it’s not slowing down any time soon.

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Posted by Bob Schallhorn on 1/6/2014 12:53:58 PM

A Sound Imaging Strategy: The Heart of Effective Cardiac Care
Cardiovascular disease accounts for 17 million deaths each year, and is the number one cause of death worldwide. The growth of an aging patient population, combined with the arrival of major healthcare reform, makes it critical for cardiology service providers to embrace new electronic record management and imaging technologies.

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Posted by Justin Dearborn on 12/19/2013 1:02:31 PM

RSNA 2013: More Meaningful Than Ever
Now that it’s been a couple of days since my colleagues and I returned from the 99th Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting in Chicago, we’ve had some time to digest all of the conversations from the show floor, sessions and client meetings. With more than 55,000 attendees, 600 technical exhibits and hundreds of posters and educational sessions, there’s no question that RSNA remains among the world’s most prominent medical conferences.

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Posted by Merge Marketing on 12/17/2013 9:00:02 AM

Quick and Cost-Effective MU2 Attestation
According to RadiologyMU.org, radiologists who have attested for Meaningful Use have received approximately $60 million in incentive funds. In spite of this staggering statistic, only 12% of radiologists have attested for Meaningful Use. So where’s the discrepancy?

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Posted by Merge Marketing on 11/18/2013 10:19:33 AM

Looking Ahead to RSNA 2013: IT Sessions Worth Checking Out
Besides being a great place to walk off all those Thanksgiving Day calories, the cavernous twin exhibit halls of the RSNA Annual Meeting here in Chicago will offer up the latest trends and technologies in radiology. This year is no exception, especially for those looking to learn more about PACS, informatics and interoperability.

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Posted by on 11/4/2013 1:10:29 PM

ICD-10 Is Less Than a Year Away: Are You Prepared?
ICD-10 has been called one of the most comprehensive healthcare initiatives in the past 30 years. With a much larger code set than ICD-9, the increased size of ICD-10 provides the ability to code medical diagnoses with better accuracy. Also, unlike ICD-9, the new code set enables providers to document and report the technology used in procedures, providing a level of granularity that will help medical imaging deliver enhanced service to patients on initial and recurring visits.

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Posted by Jon DeVries on 10/17/2013 2:31:05 PM

Top Ways an Enterprise-wide Imaging Strategy Benefits ACOs
At the risk of stating the obvious, accountable care organizations (ACOs), at their most fundamental level, are about accountability – holding member physicians, hospitals and other providers accountable for the quality and cost of the care they give their patients. After all, an ACO’s primary mission, when all is said and done, is to improve quality, reduce costs and increase efficiency by coordinating patients’ healthcare needs.

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Posted by Lisa Davies on 9/26/2013 2:54:04 PM

Reap the rewards of the new healthcare era with an enterprise imaging strategy
If it’s true that a picture is worth a thousand words, then medical images are priceless in the swiftly approaching era of value-based healthcare. As Meaningful Use and other regulatory measures take effect, smart providers should be taking steps now, if they haven’t already begun doing so, to implement an enterprise-wide strategy that prioritizes image management.

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Posted by Julie Pekarek on 9/18/2013 10:52:48 AM

Why Merge Supports Meaningful Use for Radiology
A recent article on www.radiologymu.org shared some stats about Meaningful Use and radiology.  While the percentage of radiologists who have attested for Meaningful Use is still quite small (less than 12%), those radiologists who have attested have received a fair amount in incentive funds (more than $60 million).

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Posted by Nancy Koenig on 8/28/2013 2:00:25 PM

Congratulations Merge Client Award Winners!
At Merge Live On-Demand last month, I had the distinct honor to announce the winners of the Second Annual Merge Client Awards. We're fortunate to have so many outstanding clients doing amazing things with our solutions. It makes choosing the nominees and winners very difficult. For those of you who missed the Executive Update presentation, I’d like to share a bit about the awards and winners.

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Posted by Diane Garey on 8/14/2013 8:00:00 AM

Merge Live On-Demand Keynote: Why Share Electronic Medical Information?
Merge Live On-Demand kicked off yesterday with a set of outstanding industry sessions. To me, the most powerful was Regina Holliday’s presentation. Regina told us the story of her family and her late husband Frederick, and their struggle to get appropriate care for him as he battled kidney cancer.

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Posted by Pete Nanos on 8/7/2013 8:00:00 AM

Orchestration vs. Coordination, Part 1
As a long-time healthcare IT guy, I spent a lot of time thinking about information systems and how different elements in those systems work together.

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Posted by Lisa Davies on 8/2/2013 3:12:25 PM

An Imaging Strategy Helps Your Practice – and Your Patients
Don’t underestimate the value of implementing an enterprise-wide imaging strategy, especially when it comes to holding onto your most important stakeholders: your patients. Being able to efficiently store and manage medical images and data doesn’t just help you as the provider; it also helps strengthen your patients’ bonds with your practice.

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Posted by Diane Garey on 7/31/2013 8:00:00 AM

Merge Live On-Demand 2013: What to expect at this year’s client conference
We’re less than three weeks away from Merge Live On-Demand 2013 and we’re getting lots of questions from our clients on how they can make the most of this year’s event.

Over the years, I’ve attended a lot of events both in-person and online. Based on what I’ve experienced, here are five ideas on how to make the most of the online format this year.

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Posted by William Lingley on 7/22/2013 2:20:26 PM

What is HTML5 and what does it mean for imaging?
HTML is the language that’s used to organize and present content on the Internet. HTML5 is simply a new version of the language that has a number of new capabilities that, among other things, will positively impact how medical images can be viewed online via web browsers that support HTML5.

Before we cover what’s new in HTML5 though, let’s discuss how HTML relates to medical imaging, and specifically, the viewing of medical images via the Internet.

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Posted by Falon Greer on 7/22/2013 2:03:37 PM

Top Five Image-Sharing Misconceptions
I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to travel all over the country and examine different hospitals’ workflow and challenges first-hand. From small community hospitals to large, multi-state IDNs, I have a 35,000 foot view of common workflows and issues. That’s because I work for a vendor. The clients I service aren’t so lucky.  “Running lean” is the common theme of this decade. Every employee is doing the work of two or more people in the same 40, 50, 60 hour work week. Finding a half-hour to complete some actual research on new solutions in healthcare is a rare luxury. There are too many budget cuts, server failures, reimbursement changes, Meaningful Use attestations, software upgrades and then bugs and then patches, and oh yeah, that teeny little task of saving lives. 

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Posted by Lisa Davies on 7/22/2013 1:42:04 PM

Considerations when consolidating PACS archives into a third-party archive
When I meet with hospitals that are considering consolidating PACS archives into a single VNA, they’re usually looking to do so for one of two reasons (or both if they fit). First is the simple financial motivation to reduce the cost and complexity of managing multiple, disparate archives. The second reason is clinical and their desire to give access to patient data across departments. For example, allowing the cardiology department with a first-time patient to see previous studies done by the radiology department, like a 2-view chest CR.
 
If you’re considering PACS archive consolidation, here are a few things to think about as you get started that can help you architect the right solution for your organization.

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Posted by Diane Garey on 7/22/2013 11:21:09 AM

Planning for ICD-10 and Meaningful Use (MU) Stage 2 Changes in 2014
One of the webinars that we held last month was about two big programs with really big changes coming next year: ICD-10 and Meaningful Use and how they will affect imaging centers and orthopedic practices. I’ll share a few takeaways here. You’re welcome to visit our website any time and watch the recording.

If you’re a healthcare provider and looking at ICD-10 and MU2, you might be a bit stressed about 2014… like new baby or new job kind of stressed. Like with many stressful situations though, I think there are some really positive things to look forward to once you get through it all.

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