MILWAUKEE, Nov. 20 Merge TechnologiesIncorporated, d.b.a. Merge Healthcare, (Nasdaq: MRGE) (TSX: MRG.), a leadingmedical imaging software and services provider, today announced theintroduction of a new teleradiology software application, Merge TeleRead(TM),and an innovative service offering, Consult PreReads(TM). A Consult PreReadis a consulting service that provides a preliminary report of a medicalimaging study (prepared and revised by two different offshore radiologists)producing a detailed report that a U.S. radiologist may consult and utilize toprepare his or her official final diagnostic report. The report includesreferences to prior studies, relevant patient clinical information or datarequested in the radiology order, and extensive measurements of relevant andincidental pathology and associated key images. The Company plans to beginoffering the Merge TeleRead application and Consult PreRead service to itscustomers in the first quarter of 2008.
The Consult PreRead is designed to provide another level of qualitycontrol and assuredness for the official final diagnostic report (whichMerge's radiology group customers' licensed U.S. radiologists are responsiblefor preparing) while enhancing the productivity of the U.S. readingradiologist. In essence, upon completion of the official read by the U.S.radiologist, the medical imaging study has been triple-read before it goesback to the referring physician from the U.S. radiologist.
"In addition to this innovative new service, we believe that mostteleradiology service companies do not have the technology to easily providepatient history and the relevant prior studies required to support theteleradiology final read business," said Kenneth D. Rardin, President and CEO."The teleradiology services industry has been struggling with the technologyto support the complex final read business. Merge TeleRead, our newproprietary teleradiology solution is scheduled to be released for productionin Q1 '08, supports this complex environment by providing access to currentstudies, prior studies, prior reports and relevant current and historicalpatient information," said Rardin. "I believe that Merge TeleRead providesthe 'secret sauce' to allow Merge and our customers to successfully enter thismulti-billion dollar industry."
"I have been in radiology for over twenty years, and I believe that thisis an industry-changing capability," said Steven Mendelsohn, MD, a U.S. basedradiologist who has been a clinical advisor in the Merge Teleradiologyclinical beta tests. "I am impressed with the workflow and technology, andthe medical acumen, technical accuracy and communication skills of theoffshore radiologists. I am confident that this is the impetus for a new wayof doing business and improving clinical efficacy in radiology."
Merge will demonstrate its Consult PreRead service and its Merge TeleReadsoftware at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) AnnualConference, November 25-30, 2007, in Chicago, Illinois. Merge will initiallyoffer its teleradiology services to existing Merge Healthcare Fusion RIS(TM)and Fusion RIS/PACS(TM) customers, but intends to offer these services tousers of non-Merge RIS and RIS/PACS customers in the near future. RIS refersto Radiology Information Systems and PACS refers to Picture Archiving andCommunication Systems.
"Our ongoing evaluation of the medical image reading market and theteleradiology services that have been established to help augment U.S.radiological services indicates that there is a strong need and demand forinnovative solutions to improve quality of patient care and help to increaseradiology productivity. This is based on a decreasing supply of radiologistsrelative to demand, the increasing need for healthcare services in an agingpopulation and the incredible growth of medi