In January we reported from the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference regarding convergence of communications and medical technologies. Two trends mentioned were use of cloud computing and connectivity in medicine. Here is a brief update:

Abbott (ABT $48) announced today that the FDA cleared its i-Stat(R) 1 Wireless Point of Care (POC) Testing  System for real time transmission of diagnostic test results from patient bedside to physicians anywhere they have access to electronic patient records to minimize time for treatment. The handheld i-Stat analyzer can perform critical tests such as blood chemistries, blood gases, electrolytes and hematology on 2-3 drops of blood. The i-Stat System has 50,000 placements worldwide in hospitals, emergency departments, intensive care units, clinics and physician offices.

Merge Healthcare (MRGE $4.60) soared 9.8% today on good volume with no specific news but probably in a delayed reaction and blog postings related to last week’s Annual Report for the period ending Dec 2010. Revenues were $140.3 M up from $66.8M from the 2009. However net losses were much higher $30.6M compared to a profit of $285K in 2009. Analysts are forecast 2011 revenues of $234M for 2011 and an EPS of 18 cents. Merge has turned the corner from financial dire straits and the stock is up 70% from the $1 level in 2008 and is well positioned in software solutions that automate healthcare data and diagnostic workflow with imaging tools for radiologists and other specialists. The market cap is $387M giving the stock a 2011 Price to Sales of 1.65X. Shareholder equity is significantly improved at $105M

Alere (ALR $37.52) is our focus stock for a medical diagnostics “convergence” play with several diagnostic platforms for a broad array of tests for cardiac conditions, infectious diseases, women’s health oncology and drugs of abuse. The Alere products and value-added health management services strategy offers connectivity of the patient to the provider with the objective of enabling providers to improve clinical outcomes and lower costs.

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