Execs explain strategy behind GE’s acquisition of Dynamic Imaging

October 24, 2007

The purchase of Dynamic Imaging, announced Oct. 11, provides GE Healthcare with a badly needed web-based PACS to complement its existing PACS and web-based RIS for large clients and a sorely needed means to address community hospitals and outpatient clinics, according to a GE principal of the deal. Pairing up with GE provides Dynamic Imaging with the national and global marketing muscle that it lacked, according to its top exec.

The purchase of Dynamic Imaging, announced Oct. 11, provides GE Healthcare with a badly needed web-based PACS to complement its existing PACS and web-based RIS for large clients and a sorely needed means to address community hospitals and outpatient clinics, according to a GE principal of the deal. Pairing up with GE provides Dynamic Imaging with the national and global marketing muscle that it lacked, according to its top exec.

In an interview with DI SCAN, Don Woodlock, vice president and global general manager of imaging solutions at GE Healthcare, noted the gaps that Dynamic Imaging's IntegradWeb product line has filled, and candidly acknowledged the shortcomings of its longtime PACS standard-bearer, Centricity.

"Our main PACS front-end workstation is not web-based," he said. "We had a web add-on called Centricity Web, but this gave referring physicians read-only access to images. The tools and usability available with Dynamic Imaging products is much stronger than what GE had in its portfolio, so putting these two companies together really advances our technology."

With the addition of the IntegradWeb products line, GE can stop "skinnying" down its Centricity platform, Woodlock said. The company had been repackaging the enterprise-oriented PACS with scaled-back computing hardware to fit the budgets of smaller customers and meet rising demand from community hospitals and outpatient imaging centers, he said. But the results have been mixed.

"We have had some success, but not as much success as Dynamic Imaging and other companies have had in those market spaces," he said. "There was a limit to the amount of scaling down we could do with our technologies, implementation, and cost structure."

Alex Jurovitsky, CEO of Dynamic Imaging, described the "enormous opportunity" in market reach that joining GE represents for his company.

"Due to our size, we have been able to reach only a limited market, but now our technology can prosper in national and global markets," he said.

It took almost a year for the two companies to get to this point. Woodlock reminisced about "wandering" into the Dynamic Imaging booth at last year's RSNA, asking for a meeting with Jurovitsky to see if he'd be "interested in partnering with us."

"We were looking at fast-forwarding our technology base into web-based applications, and Dynamic Imaging stood out as the best in technology and in the market spaces we wanted to serve better," he said.

Staff from the two companies had worked together at customer sites but always as independent vendors of stand-alone products that needed to be interfaced. That did not change after the RSNA meeting last year. But that discussion led to serious negotiations, which recently concluded with GE's acquisition of Dynamic Imaging.

Terms of the deal were not - and will not - be publicly disclosed, Woodlock said. Although GE is a publicly held company, Dynamic Imaging is not, allowing the two to keep most of the details of their financial transaction private.

Going forward, GE will mix and match its consolidated portfolio of IntegradWeb and Centricity products, serving healthcare IT à la carte. The company will stay with its current approach to integrated delivery networks, offering Centricity PACS and Centricity RIS-IC (ImageCast) as an integrated, scalable platform. GE will complement the offering, however, with IntegradWeb products that support image distribution, remote reading, and teleradiology over the web.

When approaching community hospitals and other facilities in the ambulatory marketplace, GE will combine IntegradWeb PACS with Centricity RIS-IC.

When venturing into the outpatient center market, the company will lead with a wholly Dynamic Imaging pitch - IntegradWeb RIS/PACS.

When IntegradWeb and Centricity products interact, the consolidated staff of GE and Dynamic Imaging will fashion interfaces, a process already well developed, thanks to work done at sites where both companies' products are in place.

One site is Stony Brook University in New York, where, according to Jurovitsky, the two products have achieved a very high level of integration.

"The systems, regardless of whether the workflow is web-driven or PACS driven, interact with each other at a very deep level," he said. "It is not only an HL7 exchange of information."

The combined staff of the two firms, Jurovitsky said, "now have the opportunity to make it look like the systems behave as one, because we will give them the ability to query each other's databases directly."

The companies will apply what Woodlock calls GE's "gold standard integration," a standard developed after the company acquired IDX two years ago. This transaction brought GE its first robust web-enabled technology, Centricity RIS-IC.