Industry News

Merge Healthcare introduces retinal screening tool

Merge Healthcare Inc. will release technology that will allow eye care providers to identify and diagnose diabetic retinopathy, the company announced.

The end-to-end solution, iConnect Retinal Screening, collects retinal images with an automated camera.

According to Merge, the images are sent to a reading center via cloud technology, and trained technicians interpret and identify the results. Those results are then sent to the eye care provider's electronic health record system via Merge's iConnect Network.

“Diabetes affects more than 347 million people globally, and it’s estimated that one out of every five U.S. health care dollars is spent on this disease,” Steven Tolle, chief strategy officer at Merge Healthcare, said in the release. “By creating a solution that addresses both patient and provider knowledge gaps, we’re helping providers more easily diagnose and treat not only diabetes, but retinal disease as a whole. Patients, in turn, are empowered with faster treatment plans, which can reduce the risk of negative side effects.”

“We saw a clear need in the industry for a solution that solves a large population health problem, especially within accountable care organizations,” Justin Dearborn, CEO of Merge Healthcare, said in the release. “By leveraging our existing cloud technology, Merge customers will be able to enhance care for the large number of diabetic patients in our nation. Our deep expertise with other specialty screenings, such as mammography, cervical and cardiology, positions us well to help in the eye care market. This new, end-to-end solution will be a win-win for patients and providers, enabling a detrimental disease to be diagnosed and treated earlier, having the additional benefit of reducing short- and long-term health care costs.”

Merge Healthcare is planning for iConnect Retinal Screening to be available by the end of Q2; it is currently undergoing a pilot program launch.

According to the company, other versions of the technology may include testing for glaucomaage-related macular degeneration and other diseases.