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CompuRad looks to PC-based software for success in teleradiology marketplaceVendor to leverage teleradiology base for ClinicalWare salesCompuRad made a move that was ahead of its time when it decided in 1992 to focus its business on
Vendor to leverage teleradiology base for ClinicalWare sales
CompuRad made a move that was ahead of its time when it decided in 1992 to focus its business on developing teleradiology software designed for use on low-cost personal computers. The vendor never retreated from that position and, at the 1996 Radiological Society of North America meeting, took that approach to the next level with the launch of ClinicalWare, a software program that allows clinicians to use a World Wide Web browser to access data from any information system in a hospital.
In addition to the company's reliance on software-only teleradiology applications, CompuRad's independent stature has been an anomaly in the merger-happy PACS and teleradiology marketplace. With Imation snapping up Cemax-Icon earlier this year (PNN 6/97), CompuRad is one of the largest independent companies remaining in the teleradiology marketplace.
Although the company has for the most part remained true to its teleradiology orientation, CompuRad has broadened the reach of its products somewhat. Thanks to some 1997 product introductions, the vendor can now participate in some miniPACS implementations, such as in-house image distribution environments. The company is exploring the addition of archiving to complement its PC teleradiology software. At this point, however, CompuRad has no plans to move into the large-scale PACS market.
CompuRad has been a top player in the hotly competitive teleradiology market ever since Dr. Philip Berman, then head of an Arizona radiology group, joined forces with University of Arizona engineer Henky Wibowo to develop PC Teleradiology, a DOS-based software-only teleradiology package. The vendor, then known as CompuMed, debuted PC Teleradiology at the 1991 RSNA meeting. Since then, CompuRad's revenues have grown 70% to 100% per year, according to Cary Cole, vice president of sales and marketing.
In 1993, the company added Macintosh- and Windows-based versions of PC Teleradiology. CompuRad then expanded its product line in 1994 with the introduction of iNet, a Windows NT-based client-server teleradiology application. That product allowed users to set up a centralized reading environment, whereby images could be sent from multiple sites to a central location for reading, Cole said.
"This took teleradiology from an on-call, convenient point-to-point application to a business, client-server environment," Cole said. "That was a real turning point for us as a company."
This kind of teleradiology overread network remains a booming part of CompuRad's business today, Cole said. The company also received a big boost in 1995 when Siemens Medical Systems decided to privately label CompuRad's PC Teleradiology software as MagicView 50.
CompuRad's earlier PC Teleradiology software package was folded in 1996 into the company's iNet product family. Today, iNet features a number of components, including the iNet Windows NT-based server, as well as iScan, a module for film scanning using Lumisys or Vidar digitizers. Another module, iFCR, supports Fuji CR images, while iView provides image-viewing software, and iCapture facilitates capturing images from CT, MRI, nuclear medicine, ultrasound, and fluoroscopy.
Earlier this year, CompuRad added iNet Pro, which adds support for DICOM query-and-retrieve storage classes. It also qualifies as a DICOM storage-class provider and storage-class user, Cole said. Also new for the iNet family is iView Pro, a DICOM-compliant, Windows NT-based viewing software package that supports single-monitor and multimonitor configurations. The new additions allow iNet to support in-house image distribution in addition to its traditional point-to-point and client-server capabilities, Cole said.
At the 1996 RSNA meeting, CompuRad unveiled ClinicalWare, a Web-based software package that allows physicians to access patient information and images using standard Web browsers or the vendor's own Passport browser, which is designed specifically for healthcare applications. ClinicalWare is designed to help physicians manage information that might be located in multiple databases and sources in a healthcare facility. The Windows NT-based product has been installed at four sites, and an additional four systems have been sold and will be installed over the next few months, Cole said.
With 25% of the company's 75 employees focused solely on ClinicalWare, the software product represents a major thrust of the company. The added infrastructure needed to support the development and marketing of ClinicalWare was a principle reason for the firm's decision to go public on the NASDAQ Stock Exchange in August 1996. Trading under the symbol COMD, the company raised approximately $6.6 million.
OEM relationships are growing in importance for the vendor. In addition to its deal with Siemens, CompuRad also announced at the 1996 RSNA meeting that it would add ClinicalWare to Sterling Diagnostic Imaging's Quick Linx image management system.
In CompuRad's second quarter, OEM and VAR sales accounted for 35% of the company's revenues, compared with 10% for the same period a year ago. The ratio of OEM/VAR sales will climb even higher with increased sales of ClinicalWare, which should come primarily through OEMs. CompuRad is actively pursuing new OEM relationships and in late June reached an agreement with Konica Medical to have that vendor privately label the iNet product family. The vendor is also in final stages of negotiations with a few other potential OEM partners, primarily for sales of ClinicalWare.
CompuRad's ability to stay ahead of the market with low-cost, PC-based solutions has allowed the vendor to thrive as one of the few independent companies in the medical image management market. With many healthcare institutions looking to invest in low-cost information systems technology, its Web-based software product should help bolster the company's position even more.
1350 North Kolb Rd.
Tucson, AZ 85715
Dr. Philip Berman, chairman, president, and CEO
Cary Cole, vice president, sales and marketing
Henky Wibowo, vice president, engineering
NASDAQ Stock Exchange as COMD
52-week NASDAQ high: $9 (2/7/97)
52-week NASDAQ low: $5 (5/16/97)
As of 6/26: $6
First-quarter 1997 revenues: $2.4 million
First-quarter 1997 net income (loss): ($133,519)
Earnings per share: (3)
Total assets: $6.3 million
Market capitalization: $23.1 million
OEMs, VARs, and direct sales.
Siemens Medical Systems, Sterling Diagnostic Imaging, Fuji Medical Systems, and Konica Medical.
The company will be devoting substantial resources to advancing its iNet family of teleradiology and medical image management products and leveraging its existing teleradiology base to offer ClinicalWare as a tool to share images and reports with referring clinicians.