Fuji to enter PACS market thanks to Olicon agreement

May 1, 1997

Fuji to enter PACS market thanks to Olicon agreementOlicon will also license Fuji's CR algorithmsIn a move aimed at mining providers' increasing interest in purchasing complete PACS solutions, computed radiography developer Fuji Medical

Fuji to enter PACS market thanks to Olicon agreement

Olicon will also license Fuji's CR algorithms

In a move aimed at mining providers' increasing interest in purchasing complete PACS solutions, computed radiography developer Fuji Medical Systems USA and PACS vendor Olicon Imaging Systems have entered into a nonexclusive licensing and distribution agreement.

Under the terms of the deal, Fuji will distribute Olicon's PACS products when customers desire a single-vendor solution for PACS and CR, while Olicon will license Fuji's CR image processing algorithms for use on Olicon's workstations.

Fuji can now directly offer PACS products to its CR customers, whereas in the past it had to refer them to another vendor, according to Clay Larsen, managing director of marketing for Fuji of Stamford, CT.

"Not only can we meet (the customer's) first step in a phased implementation of PACS with Fuji CR, but we can also offer a turnkey (PACS) solution via Olicon," Larsen said.

Olicon, on the other hand, should get a sizable boost from Fuji's dominant market position in CR, as well as from its large distribution channels. And by licensing Fuji's image processing algorithms, Olicon believes that it will have a leg up with current Fuji CR owners looking to expand into a PACS network.

With over 4000 worldwide installations of its CR systems, Fuji holds a 90% market share worldwide, and a 75% share in the U.S., Larsen said. The company's CR readers are often a major component in the implementation of filmless-hospital installations, as they enable users to digitize conventional x-ray images for integration in a PACS network.

While San Clemente, CA-based Olicon has had a relationship with Fuji on a customer-by-customer basis over the last few years, more and more end users have been requesting a single-source solution for their migration into a filmless environment, said Dick Paulsen, Olicon's CEO.

Although Olicon's workstations were capable of handling CR images prior to the agreement, the image quality available was generally more suitable for use by referring physicians after a report had been generated, Paulsen said.

"When you look at primary reading by a radiologist, for example, you want to have the best image quality you possibly can," he said. "These algorithms really give us that."

Fuji's move could potentially place it in competition with the PACS vendors to which it supplies CR systems on an OEM basis, such as GE Medical Systems, Picker International, and Siemens Medical System. Fuji's Larsen says, however, that while the company values its numerous OEM relationships, it is responding to customer requests for turnkey solutions. Fuji could potentially begin competing for large filmless hospital contracts.

"I would not be surprised if that would come up," Larsen said.