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Kodak acquires RIS firm to drive integrated PACS/RIS business


Kodak acquires RIS firm to drive integrated PACS/RIS businessCemax-Icon, CKI form foundation of new PARIS divisionIn yet another move intended to support its migration from a pure film company to a provider of integrated imaging

Kodak acquires RIS firm to drive integrated PACS/RIS business

Cemax-Icon, CKI form foundation of new PARIS division

In yet another move intended to support its migration from a pure film company to a provider of integrated imaging solutions, Kodak Health Imaging has acquired its long-time RIS partner, Computer Knowledge, and merged it into its PACS subsidiary, Cemax-Icon. The merger forms the foundation of Kodak's new business group, PARIS (PACS/RIS). The Cemax-Icon name, a standard in the PACS industry for years, will no longer be used by Kodak.

"We have a well-established name and reputation, but Kodak has a larger one," said Gary Larson, former CEO of Cemax-Icon and now general manager of PARIS.

The PARIS division, which will be headquartered in Cemax-Icon's Fremont, CA, offices and operated by the existing Cemax-Icon management team, is intended to better position Kodak to meet the growing demand for integrated PACS/RIS products, according to Larson. It will also support Kodak's efforts to expand these product offerings into more global markets.

"Because PACS is a key part of the Kodak Health Imaging business strategy, this is a sign of needing and wanting to grow the business at a faster rate than we have in the past," Larson said. "Our customers are asking for more of a single face in dealing with us as a supplier, and we are positioning ourselves more centrally within Kodak to better meet customer demands."

Kodak has been promoting itself as an integrated imaging solutions company since last year's RSNA meeting. The strategy includes investing in numerous digital technologies and companies and partnering into new market niches such as digital radiography (via an alliance with Analogic), information systems and services, and Web-based models. Kodak Health Imaging plans to launch more than 45 new products this year, 80% of which are digital, according to Rick Cimino, chief marketing officer for Kodak Health Imaging in Rochester, NY.

"The company as a whole is migrating toward digital, and the health imaging division is leading the way," Cimino said. "In the future, from a business model, I can prove that we can make better margins and have better profitability in a completely filmless business."

PARIS is not a new concept within Kodak, nor is the company's relationship with CKI (PNN 11/99). Kodak Health Imaging has served as the exclusive distributor of CKI's RIS 2010 system for seven years and is already integrating its PACS offerings with the RIS 2010 in Europe (CKI is based in Iceland). Cemax-Icon and CKI also have a close product development relationship, having collaborated on the development of the integrated PACS/RIS system already being sold by Kodak in Europe under the brand name PARIS.

"We are continuing to expand the RIS product in Europe and we are developing the product for other regions of the world as well," said Shirley Pugh, director of global marketing for Kodak Health Imaging.

The company has not set a date for the rollout of the new division's first integrated PACS/RIS product, but it will likely be targeted to the North American market and designed to enable the PACS to link with any RIS, not just that of CKI, according to Larson.

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