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IBM has previewed new imaging solutions from Watson Health and Merge Healthcare (Merge; an IBM Company) designed to help health care providers pursue personalized approaches to patient diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring. The solutions benefit from more than a decade of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) work conducted in IBM Research.

Medical images are by far the largest and fastest-growing data source in the health care industry – IBM researchers estimate that they account for at least 90 percent of all medical data today – but they also present challenges that need to be addressed. The volume of medical images can be overwhelming to even the most sophisticated specialists; radiologists in some hospital emergency rooms are presented with thousands of images each day.

Tools to help clinicians extract insights from medical images remain limited, requiring most analysis to be done manually. This has created an opportunity to analyze and cross-reference medical images against a deep trove of lab results, electronic health records, genomic tests, clinical studies and other health-related data sources to enable providers to compare new medical images with a patient’s image history as well as populations of similar patients to detect changes and anomalies.

“The breadth and depth of Watson-powered solutions on display at RSNA 2016 from Watson Health’s imaging group and from Merge are unmatched among the AI community, and showcase how IBM is bringing cognitive computing to health care in clinically meaningful ways,” said Anne LeGrand, Vice President of Imaging for IBM Watson Health.