Well, there you go. After I commented only a few weeks ago that Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendation Nuance Communications (NASDAQ:NUAN) has been relatively quiet on the acquisition front, the company announced yesterday that it will pick up privately held Commissure. The terms were undisclosed.

Nuance took a fancy to Commissure for its technology geared toward the health-care market, specifically radiology. Commissure's software-driven solutions, addressing everything from ordering to reporting imaging tests in all sizes of facilities, allow imaging labs to operate more efficiently.

The purchase will help Nuance push deeper into the radiology market, where it sees significant use of its Dictaphone products saving money on report transcription. By integrating the speech technologies of the two companies, and by working with imaging-solution partners such as GE (NYSE:GE), Cerner (NASDAQ:CERN), and Siemens (NYSE:SI), Nuance hopes to aid in cutting costs and improving overall medical-imaging services.

As part of the deal, Nuance will grant 217,975 shares of its stock to retain 21 Commissure employees.

As health-care costs continue to rise, solutions to cut costs and automate labor-intensive processes are always high on medical facilities' list of priorities. To that end, health care, like many other industries, has spawned many outsourced-services companies, including Nighthawk Radiology (NASDAQ:NHWK) and dialysis-services firm DaVita (NYSE:DVA). These companies and other suppliers, such as Quality Systems (NASDAQ:QSII), are all focused on lowering the costs of care and freeing doctors to spend more time with their patients. The fragmented market and the need for cost containment continues to give Nuance opportunities to bring the efficiency of speech-recognition services to health care.

Using the same approach as in earlier deals, Nuance is diluting its share base and sacrificing near-term profitability to cement its lead in the growing speech and imaging markets. Though investors have yet to see any black on the bottom line, as a result of ongoing interest and merger expenses, Nuance's operating income has been steadily rising. And considering that the share price that has risen just shy of 150% in the past year, investors are probably happy to wait for the bottom line to perk up.

More Foolishness, loud and clear:

Nuance has been burning up the Motley Fool Hidden Gems scorecard with a 194% gain since its initial selection in January 2006. To see what other stocks Tom Gardner and Bill Mann think will beat the market, take a free 30-day trial.

Fool contributor Dave Mock still can't find the baby's face in ultrasound images -- it looks like just a bunch of jumbled dots to him. He owns shares of Quality Systems. Dave is the author of The Qualcomm Equation. NightHawk Radiology is a Pay Dirt recommendation. Quality Systems is a Stock Advisor recommendation. The Fool's disclosure policy counts cards, too.