The Big Picture: Is bigger really better?

January 1, 2000

The Big Picture: Is bigger really better?By Kathy Kincade, EditorWhen shopping for my Christmas tree last month, I encountered an annual dilemma: How big a tree did I want, and how much was I willing to pay for it?Fortunately, my son Tommy was

The Big Picture: Is bigger really better?

By Kathy Kincade, Editor

When shopping for my Christmas tree last month, I encountered an annual dilemma: How big a tree did I want, and how much was I willing to pay for it?

Fortunately, my son Tommy was along, and after close evaluation of several “yucky” trees, he pointed to a 7-foot blue spruce and pronounced it “good.” I tried not to cringe as I wrote out the $45 check; it was, after all, for a good cause. The small lot was sponsored by the local Boy Scouts.

I have to wonder if purchasing a PACS these days isn’t much the same process. Vendors large and small were hawking their wares at the recent RSNA meeting, and after a while it was difficult to tell one system from another. In fact, the market has become so crowded and competitive that customers are increasingly turning to third parties to help them make their buying decisions.

With the industry’s ongoing consolidation and growing activity from large information-systems firms, some market watchers believe that there will be less room for the startups and technology innovators that have helped spur this industry to the brink of success.

Not surprisingly, the smaller vendors I talked to at the RSNA meeting take issue with that viewpoint. Most report healthy sales as the technology migrates to the desktop and the market expands into smaller hospitals and clinics. With their nimble organizations and speed in bringing new technology to market, these firms believe they are better positioned than their larger counterparts to meet this growing demand.

Let’s hope they are right. Too many choices may be overwhelming, but too few can hinder innovation and success.

© 2000 Miller Freeman, Inc., a United News & Media company.