Intelerad Becomes the Image Exchange Leader

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). 

The Takeaway

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.

Intelerad’s Reporting Play

Intelerad continued its M&A streak, acquiring radiology reporting company, PenRad Technologies, in a relatively small deal that might have a much bigger impact than some think.

PenRad has a solid share of the breast and lung cancer screening reporting segments, making it a target of a number of PACS vendors in recent years.

The acquisition is another example of Intelerad using its private equity backing to complete its informatics portfolio, following a series of deals that allowed its expansions into new clinical areas (cardiac, OB/GYN), regions (UK), technologies (cloud), and functionalities (image sharing, cloud VNA).

Adding PenRad will immediately give Intelerad three proven cancer screening reporting solutions to offer to its PACS customers, while bringing Intelerad into an untold number of PenRad accounts that it didn’t work with before now. 

The deal’s long-term impact will likely be dictated by how well Intelerad integrates and enhances its new PenRad technologies. If Intelerad is able to seamlessly integrate its PACS/worklist with PenRad’s dictation/reporting, it could create a truly unique advantage — especially if Intelerad expands its reporting capabilities beyond just cancer screening. 

Intelerad’s PenRad acquisition and Sirona’s unified radiology platform also highlight the differentiating role that integrated reporting might play in future enterprise imaging portfolios, although there aren’t many more reporting companies still available for acquisition.

The Takeaway

Informatics veterans might point out that it’s much easier to acquire a portfolio of companies than it is to integrate all that software — and they’d be correct. That said, most would also agree that Intelerad has assembled a uniquely comprehensive enterprise imaging portfolio and it would be extremely well-positioned if/when that portfolio becomes fully integrated.

Intelerad Acquires Ambra

Intelerad just got a whole lot bigger, acquiring Ambra Health to create one of the industry’s most comprehensive image management companies.

Acquisition Details – The acquisition values the combined companies at $1.7b, expands their reach to nearly 2k global customers (including all of the US’ top 10 hospitals), and brings their headcount to roughly 1k team members. Ambra CEO, Morris Panner, will become Intelerad’s president and will lead the company alongside CEO, Mike Lipps.

Intelerad + Ambra Portfolio – The acquisition combines Intelerad’s PACS portfolio with Ambra’s cloud VNA, image exchange, custom integration services, and research and pathology capabilities. 

Competitive Impact – At least in terms of portfolio breadth, this acquisition moves Intelerad into enterprise imaging’s top tier (radiology, cardiology, archive, sharing), helping it expand beyond its radiology practice legacy and deeper into hospitals. However, the star of this acquisition may prove to be combining Ambra’s cloud VNA with Intelerad’s cloud PACS, which as we’ve seen from Visage and Change’s recent cloud takeovers, can be a very effective combination.

Intelerad Growth – Intelerad has taken full advantage of its PE-backing, making a series of acquisitions since mid-2020 that allowed expansions into new specialties (cardiac & OB/GYN), regions (UK), and technologies (cloud). Ambra is clearly its biggest investment and most significant expansion yet.

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-- The Imaging Wire team

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