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Comdisco shifts attention to information technology


Comdisco shifts attention to information technologyFirm will provide range of services, including off-site archivingLast year was a time of change for Comdisco in its healthcare activities. The technology services firm divested its

Comdisco shifts attention to information technology

Firm will provide range of services, including off-site archiving

Last year was a time of change for Comdisco in its healthcare activities. The technology services firm divested its medical equipment refurbishing business in August and initiated a new focus on information technology services.

The shift in emphasis was a natural progression for Comdisco Healthcare, according to Michael Kennedy, vice president of marketing for the healthcare division of the Rosemont, IL-based firm. Comdisco Inc. reported $4.2 billion in revenues in FY 1999, up from $3.2 billion in FY 1998.

“Our previous direction was focused on technology planning and leasing of diagnostic imaging equipment, while the rest of the company was focused on IT services,” he said. “In addition, the needs of the market were broader than just providing radiology equipment. We needed to bring our services aggressively to bear and treat them as an overall IT solution.”

The new emphasis on IT was on display at the 1999 RSNA meeting, where Comdisco highlighted a range of IT services, including network management and disaster recovery, as well as its traditional financing services.

The company is also developing an imaging and IT management offering, including assessment and procedural-based leasing.

Comdisco Healthcare has been busy finding staff with IT backgrounds from within the company in preparation for growth in this business, Kennedy said.

In addition to these services, Comdisco will offer an off-site archiving package, with backup image storage at one of Comdisco’s storage facilities around the U.S. This service is expected to be available this year, Kennedy said.

“As radiology goes digital, one of the biggest concerns that hospitals and radiology departments have is the need to back up those images,” he said. “Because of HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) regulations and regulatory reasons, they need to be reassured that complex information is safe and secure for years to come.”

Comdisco also plans to provide Web-based image management and customized patient education offerings through industry partnerships. Comdisco formed a strategic alliance in November 1999 with multimedia and Internet-based patient education provider InLight for the customized patient education product. As part of the alliance, Comdisco took an equity position in InLight.

Comdisco also plans to join with a Web-based digital image management provider. One candidate could be PACS newcomer Image Medical, whose technology was displayed in Comdisco’s booth at the 1999 RSNA meeting (PNN, 1/00). The firms have been in discussion about a formal relationship, but no deal is in place yet, Kennedy said.

In addition to its end-user marketing efforts, Comdisco believes that PACS vendors could benefit from its long-term image backup services. The company is discussing that idea with potential OEM partners.

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

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