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IBM's Merge taps ImagineSoftware for revenue management

by Thomas Dworetzky, Contributing Reporter | April 26, 2017
Business Affairs Health IT Revenue Management
ImagineSoftware and IBM's Merge have strategically aligned in a deal that will have ImagineSoftware handle “frontline support” for Merge Financials and Merge Sentinel customers.

The arrangement will also allow customers to upgrade to Imagine's platform for medical billing automation.

"The Merge-ImagineSoftware agreement is beneficial for our ambulatory customers in radiology and other specialties, and for both companies," Anne Le Grand, vice president of imaging at IBM Watson Health, said in a statement. "Merge will focus on developing cloud-based, cognitively-enabled global imaging offerings – a growth area for our business – while ImagineSoftware remains focused on innovation in revenue cycle management and medical billing automation solutions."

Since Merge Financials was originally built on an ImagineSoftware platform, advised the firms, migration will be “simplified,” and a move will let Merge clients “enjoy the latest Imagine platform, with enhanced user experience, functionality, and performance.”

Since Imagine has a “depth of experience” with the Sentinel system, those customers will also have an opportunity to move to the Imagine platform as well.

"This strategic move provides an excellent go-forward vehicle for Merge Financials and Merge Sentinel customers, while adding like-minded organizations to the ImagineSoftware community we serve today," said Sam Khashman, CEO of ImagineSoftware.

ImagineSoftware's billing automation software and revenue management applications presently serve over 40,000 physicians.

IBM paid $1 billion to buy Merge in 2015.

“Merge is a tremendous addition to the Watson Health platform," John Kelly, senior vice president, IBM Research and Solutions Portfolio, said at the time. He noted that, “Watson’s powerful cognitive and analytic capabilities, coupled with those from Merge and our other major strategic acquisitions, position IBM to partner with health care providers, research institutions, biomedical companies, insurers and other organizations committed to changing the very nature of health and health care in the 21st century. Giving Watson ‘eyes’ on medical images unlocks entirely new possibilities for the industry.”

Last December, IBM Watson Health demonstrated some of its applications, then in development, at RSNA. At the meeting, Merge intrigued audiences by showing the benefit from big data and artificial intelligence in mammography.

"We're working across six business pillars and imaging is one of them," Kurt Hammond, VP, sales and marketing told HCB News. "We currently have 20 clinical and vendor partners within the Medical Imaging Collaborative, who we think will each bring unique value in teaching Watson, and will assist in developing solutions."

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