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Frost & Sullivan Recognizes Merge Healthcare's Clinical Imaging Management Solution as 'Game Changing Technology'
Date:11/11/2010

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Nov. 11, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Based on its recent analysis of the medical imaging workflow solutions market, Frost & Sullivan recognizes Merge Healthcare with the 2010 North American Frost & Sullivan Award for Healthcare Innovation of the Year for the Clinical Imaging Management System (CIMS™) for use in clinical trials and medical research.

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While medical imaging can be a powerful and highly effective tool in evaluating the efficacy of different treatments, it has never been fully utilized in clinical trials mainly due to intrinsic challenges. These challenges include transporting vast amounts of imaging data between the numerous facilities involved in a trial, and managing a complex workflow involving multiple readers and various stakeholders. However, Merge Healthcare is one of the few imaging informatics vendors in the healthcare industry that has been able to successfully exploit the growing niche market for medical imaging clinical trials.

Merge Healthcare leveraged the decades of industry expertise it developed with image and information management, as well as the image transmission and submission expertise acquired from providing teleradiology solutions, to reach a position where the mid-2009 acquisition of etrials Worldwide, Inc. enabled the company to develop the industry's first truly integrated end-to-end solution for imaging trial management with its CIMS™ platform.

"The stakeholders for clinical trials are often as scattered as they are diverse, and technology and workflow solutions are just one piece of this complex scheme, but it appears to be the key to making the imaging trials more efficient, faster and less expensive," says Frost & Sullivan Senior Industry Analyst Nadim Daher. "Technology providers must address a number of challenges throughout every step of the workflow, such as the blinding and un-blinding of patient information, guaranteeing independent reviews, and maintaining numerous databases to handle clinical trial images."  

A smart workflow engine with the most advanced automation and business intelligence tools and real-time Web-based access, Merge Healthcare's CIMS platform enables all the complex pieces of the clinical trials puzzle to be brought together to offer the most sophisticated imaging trial workflow management solution on the market today. Taking advantage of its strong background with imaging informatics and clinical trials, Merge's offering comes as a modular portfolio of clinical trial management solutions, which the company can deploy under flexible models, including software as a service (SaaS).

The CIMS electronic submission module includes de-identification and electronic transmittal forms and enables real-time submission of exams, which considerably shortens timelines compared to the average 31-day timeframe associated with courier-based trials. Additional benefits include improving protocol compliance and data quality, and facilitating the quick activation of a new participating site.

On the back-end, CIMS' Web-Based Image Archival module provides all stakeholders associated with a trial with 24x7 access to trial images. In addition to the sponsor, principal investigators, safety committee members, study teams, radiologists, and other stakeholders have user rights within the system. This technology eliminates the manual processes and a cost associated with transporting and managing CDs, improves study team productivity, reduces image access time, minimizes adjudication time, and streamlines safety review while providing a tested, validated, and secure repository for clinical trial images.

On the front-end, CIMS' integrated Image Viewers provide radiologists and adjudicators with the ability to perform measurements on the images and automatically populate and sign the electronic Case Report Forms (eCRFs) without manual entry, with the benefit of improving radiologist productivity, enhancing protocol compliance, and assuring data quality and integrity. The CIMS' data collection module offers the integrated functionality of a market leading EDC system. It provides comprehensive reporting functions, data management tools, SAS datasets, as well as query initiating and resolution functionality that help eliminate errors and queries associated with integration of multiple files and systems. It improves study transparency for ease of management, enhances compliance tracking and supports rapid go/no-go decisions and frequent interim analyses while improving radiologist, study team and site productivity.

"Frost & Sullivan believes that Merge Healthcare's clinical imaging management solution is a 'game changing technology' as it exceeds such benchmarks often by an order of magnitude, as some of the workflow steps benchmarked to last for several days have been reduced to minutes," notes Jon DeVries, General Manager of Merge Healthcare's eClinical division. "These leaps forward are actively fueling the paradigm shift taking place in the clinical trials industry, where the different clinical trial stakeholders including sponsors, principal investigators, CROs, safety committees, and radiologists can now more readily overcome the current technological barriers, potentially leapfrog unnecessary intermediaries, and ultimately gain greater access to medical imaging services."

For its best practices approach to medical imaging workflow solutions, combined with a potential to truly drive the state of the industry forward when compared to other existing technologies, Merge Healthcare is the worthiest recipient of the 2010 Frost & Sullivan Healthcare Innovation of the Year Award.

Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the company that has demonstrated a breakthrough approach or higher degree of differentiation innovation compared to other market participants. Leveraging revolutionary technology, the company leads the way in terms of research, technology, market penetration rates, value to customers, new avenues for products, novel pricing and marketing strategies, and overall advancement of the industry

Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis, and extensive secondary research in order to identify best practices in the industry.

About Merge HealthcareMerge Healthcare Incorporated develops and integrates information technology to create a better electronic healthcare experience. Merge products, ranging from standards-based development toolkits to sophisticated clinical applications, have been used by healthcare providers, vendors and researchers worldwide for over 20 years. Additional information can be found at http://www.merge.com.

About Frost & SullivanFrost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, enables clients to accelerate growth and achieve best-in-class positions in growth, innovation and leadership. The company's Growth Partnership Service provides the CEO and the CEO's Growth Team with disciplined research and best-practice models to drive the generation, evaluation, and implementation of powerful growth strategies. Frost & Sullivan leverages over 45 years of experience in partnering with Global 1000 companies, emerging businesses and the investment community from 40 offices on six continents. To join our Growth Partnership, please visit http://www.awards.frost.com.Contact:Jake Wengroff210.247.3806jake.wengroff@frost.com
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