Agfa returns fire in battle for lucrative DIN-PACS bidsPACS vendor formalizes dedicated MIL-PACS group The success of IBM's consortium in securing the first round of the U.S. military's Digital Imaging Network-Picture Archiving and
PACS vendor formalizes dedicated MIL-PACS group
The success of IBM's consortium in securing the first round of the U.S. military's Digital Imaging Network-Picture Archiving and Communications Systems (DIN-PACS) awards caught industry observers by surprise (PNN 4/98). Not many predicted that IBM would beat out PACS giant Agfa on all DIN-PACS awards to date.
Nonetheless, Ridgefield Park, NJ-based Agfa has served notice that it is committed to achieving success in the DIN-PACS arena. To take advantage of the special needs of military customers, Agfa has launched a group called MIL-PACS that will handle all sales and marketing to prospective DIN-PACS customers.
Agfa's MIL-PACS team will have approximately 12 employees, who have experience in image networking, systems integration, product design, sales, communications, installation, service, and government operations. Project management and engineering efforts will remain based in Agfa's traditional organization, said Bob Cooke, Agfa's director of image management systems.
MIL-PACS will be led by program director John DiSantis, a new Agfa hire with 25 years' management and marketing experience in radiology and imaging technology, including tenures at Picker International and Diasonics. A key component of MIL-PACS will be the participation of Agfa's corporate partners. Representatives of Cabletron Systems, Cerner, Mitra Imaging, Oracle, Dome Imaging, and Sun Microsystems will accompany Agfa personnel on sales calls.
"Our partners will play a substantial role in marketing our solution in terms of being able to provide the necessary applications-level knowledge in making presentations and supporting the customer," Cooke said.
Agfa rolled out its MIL-PACS concept to military and other government representatives at a reception at the American Telemedicine Association meeting in Orlando in April. The reception was followed by a tour of Florida Hospital's Celebration Health facility, an Agfa Impax site. The company plans to exploit its large installed base of more than 150 Impax sites for success in the DIN-PACS realm, Cooke said. Another key benefit that Agfa offers potential military customers is its ADC line of computed radiography readers, Cooke said.
"Most PACS opportunities require CR, and we're in a unique position to supply that since we manufacture a unit," he said.
As part of its DIN-PACS efforts, Agfa is also forming a board of military radiologists who will advise Agfa on products, services, and procedures. The vendor hopes to have the board in place within six months, Cooke said.
Agfa does not plan to restrict the MIL-PACS team to DIN-PACS opportunities. As Agfa's presence increases in the Department of Defense market, the MIL-PACS group will also target opportunities in all government sales, Cooke said.