Merge eMed Announces New Installations of MergeMammo Diagnostic Mammography Solution

MILWAUKEE, Nov. 26 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Merge eMed, a Merge Healthcare company (Nasdaq: MRGE; TSX: MRG) and a leading medical imaging software and services company, today announced new installations of MergeMammo(TM), a multi-modality, vendor-neutral softcopy workstation for reading and review of digital mammography images. Among numerous adopters of this solution are Insight Health Corp., Lake Forest, California; Southcoast Radiology, Savannah, Georgia; and Zwanger-Pesiri Radiology Group, Long Island, NY.

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MergeMammo streamlines breast imaging workflow and enhances clinical reading capabilities. With MergeMammo, breast images from any modality can all be displayed on the same workstation, allowing radiologists to quickly compare images on a single screen. Beyond its multi-modality capability, the Merge eMed solution is vendor-neutral; users can simultaneously read images produced by any vendors’ device on a single MergeMammo workstation, eliminating the need for organizations to invest in and radiologists to learn multiple mammography workstation software applications.

InSight Health Corp, which performs approximately 77,000 mammography procedures annually using 18 mammography units in 14 imaging centers nationwide, deployed MergeMammo at one of its imaging centers based in Encino, California. “With digital mammography, we’ve improved image quality and clinical effectiveness, while also increasing productivity,” said Gregg C. Daversa, vice president of technical services for InSight Health Corp. “As we continue to migrate to digital mammography at other centers the MergeMammo workstation will be critically important to optimize workflow, limit costs and respond to market demand and payors who are setting new requirements regarding digital mammography.”

Daversa adds that digital mammography is an important marketing differentiator. “It enables us to provide faster, more comfortable tests, reduce radiation exposure to patients, and make results available electronically to both patients and referring physicians,” noted Daversa.

Dr. Patricia Shapiro of Southcoast Radiology describes efficiency in moving to digital and using MergeMammo. “Previously with film, we dedicated two technologists and one assistant who served 30 to 35 patients each day. Now, using MergeMammo with a digital imaging system, we have one technologist and a part-time assistant who serve 35 or more patients daily,” she said. “We decided on MergeMammo predominantly because it is not a proprietary system. Regardless of our acquisition vendor or vendors, we are not forced to use multiple workstations.”

Matt Dewey, RIS/PACS manager of Zwanger-Pesiri’s five free-standing imaging centers, says cost was a critical factor in choosing MergeMammo. His organization shifted to digital in early 2005, then increased its number of acquisition units. “With five rooms running and only two single reading workstations, our workflow was often backed up, sometimes by a week or more,” Dewey stated. “Expanding was a costly proposition because each workstation from our digital vendor exceeded $100,000. MergeMammo pricing is much more reasonable. Now, with workstations in every office, radiologists at our main site read from and make updates to a single database. We’ve improved workflow speed and provide real-time information for everyone to see.”

These administrators also like capabilities for customizing the MergeMammo interface. “Radiologists can design how they want their environment to look and specify viewing protocols to replicate their personal workflow styles,” Dewey said. “This detail is centrally stored and follows users from machine to machine.”

Digital mammography offers significant opportunity for organizations to improve quality and expand customer service. “According to recent statistics, more than 8,800 sites are doing mammography in the US, yet less than 10% are digital,” said Tim Kulbago, Chief Strategy Officer. “A major boost came with the publication of DMIST results in the fall of 2005, showing that digital mammography is more accurate than film for some women,” Kulbago stated.

“Imaging organizations should clearly understand the potential value of moving to digital mammography, carefully evaluate options and pragmatically plan for the conversion,” said Kulbago, adding that several challenges exist in moving from film to digital mammography. Many organizations try to blend mammography systems inherited from merger or acquisition activity. The cost of digital mammography prohibits some from converting to digital fully across the enterprise. Most seek to streamline workflow by avoiding multiple stand- alone workstations within their organizations.

“The result of these challenges is that imaging centers cannot afford or do not want to be locked into a single mammography vendor. Most need a workstation that will grow with their business, and many seek to optimize collaboration across multiple facilities,” Kulbago said. “MergeMammo is specifically designed to cost-effectively address these needs.”

About Merge Healthcare

Merge Healthcare is a market leader in the development and delivery of medical imaging and information management software and services. Merge Healthcare is comprised of three business units:

  —  Cedara Software, providing medical imaging, Custom Engineering and IT
solutions to the Global OEM market
— Merge eMed, providing RIS, PACS and Clinical Applications to
hospitals, imaging centers and specialty clinics in North America
— Merge Healthcare EMEA, providing RIS, PACS, Clinical Applications and
Electronic Patient Records in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Merge Healthcare has over 20 years of leadership in the medical imaging and healthcare information technology market. For OEM customers, Merge Healthcare custom engineers clinical and imaging applications and development tools that are on the forefront of medicine and its use of medical imaging for OEM customers. For end-user customers, we develop innovative medical imaging software solutions that support end-to-end business and clinical workflow for radiology department and specialty practices, imaging centers and hospitals. Our innovative software solutions use leading-edge imaging software technologies that accelerate market delivery for our OEM customers, while our end-user solutions improve our customers’ productivity and enhance the quality of patient care they provide.