Radiology took a giant step towards actually #ditchingthedisk last week with Intelerad’s acquisition of image exchange rival, Life Image. Here’s why this could be a big deal…
Exchange Leadership – Acquiring Life Image makes Intelerad the “clear medical image exchange market leader,” combining two of the top three exchange companies (the other is Nuance), and creating a far more straightforward roadmap towards building a “true nation-wide, electronic image exchange network.”
Demand & Supply – Although imaging vendors always position their acquisitions as patient or clinician-centric (even if it’s debatable), this move actually does address one of radiology’s most glaring problems — it’s far too difficult for providers to share images with each other if they don’t use the same exchange platform.
The Exchange Network Effect – Because the clinical value of image exchanges multiplies as vendor market share increases, Intelerad now has a network effect advantage that you almost never see in medical imaging. If this deal increased Intelerad’s image exchange share to 70% (hypothetically), it would make Intelerad far more valuable to its current clients and far more attractive to its remaining prospects.
Defining “Open” – The announcement alluded to the creation of an “open” image exchange, which is consistent with Ambra/Intelerad’s philosophy. However, it’s unclear how or when that will happen – or whether Nuance and other competitors will decide to join.
Intelerad = Acquirer – This deal also solidifies Intelerad’s title as imaging informatics’ most active acquirer, buying at least seven companies in the last two years that expanded it into new clinical areas (cardiac, OB/GYN), regions (UK), technologies (cloud), and functionalities (image sharing, reporting, cloud VNA).
Intelerad’s combined Ambra and Life Image acquisitions should make it the undisputed leader of the image exchange segment. That’s a big deal considering that the value of image exchange software multiplies as market share increases, and because it could actually allow Intelerad to solve (not just improve) one of radiology’s most frustrating challenges.