MDT makes bid for Web-based PACS firm

September 1, 1999

MDT makes bid for Web-based PACS firmAcquisition of TIMS would mark entry into digital image managementMR imaging center operator Medical Device Technologies has taken a preliminary step toward entering the PACS market. The San

MDT makes bid for Web-based PACS firm

Acquisition of TIMS would mark entry into digital image management

MR imaging center operator Medical Device Technologies has taken a preliminary step toward entering the PACS market. The San Diego-based company has signed a letter of intent to acquire up to a 40% equity interest in teleradiology and PACS software developer Total Medical Information Management Systems (TIMS).

Although the synergy between an MR imaging center operator and a PACS software developer might not be immediately apparent, MDT executives point to the firm’s capability to convert images generated from different modalities and manufacturers into a common digital format. Once converted, the images can be efficiently accessed or broadcast over an intranet or the Internet, according to an MDT representative. This technology would confer efficiency gains to MDT’s imaging center holdings.

MDT would initially apply the software at its own MRI centers, but envisions that diagnostic imaging equipment vendors and other hospitals and centers might also be interested in deploying the TIMS technology, according to an MDT representative.

For MDT, the deal would mark the company’s further expansion into healthcare. Between its incorporation in 1980 and June 1992, the firm, then known as Cytoprobe, participated exclusively in the oil and gas marketplace. In 1992, it began initial activities in the medical device industry, and had fully divested and ceased all of its oil and gas interests by January 1994. The firm changed its name in May 1995 to reflect the new direction, and by the third quarter of 1998, chose to narrow its focus to the diagnostic imaging center sector. In July 1998, MDT acquired either the stock or substantially all of the assets and liabilities of MR imaging center chain Vision Diagnostics and its affiliated group of companies.

Last month, MDT added to its MRI center interests with the signing of a letter of intent to acquire the assets of multi-site diagnostic imaging business Ultra MRI & Diagnostic Services in exchange for MDT common stock and other consideration to be finalized in a definitive agreement. The agreement with Florida-based Ultra MRI is subject to due diligence by both parties, completion of funding by MDT, and final approval by both firms’ boards of directors.

For its part, Longwood, FL-based TIMS would receive MDT common stock and other consideration to be finalized in a definitive agreement. The non-binding letter of intent is subject to due diligence by both parties and final approval by both firms’ boards of directors.

TIMS has developed a teleradiology and image distribution software package that allows radiologists and referring physicians to access diagnostic quality imaging studies and reports from multiple hospitals on one Web site. Both JPEG and wavelet compression algorithms are available.

Support for the viewing of dynamic echocardiography and angiography studies was expected to be incorporated into the software by the end of August, according to president Don Beavers.

In addition to image viewing abilities, the software could support archiving needs for small hospitals using a RAID. The company plans to add large-scale storage capability by the end of the year.

Available since early 1999, TIMS has been installed at 10 sites, including North Georgia Medical Center in Ellijay, GA, Fannin Regional Hospital in Blue Ridge, GA, and Miami Heart Institute in Miami, FL, according to the firm. The company, a unit of computer sales and service firm CompuTeach Systems, plans to apply for Food and Drug Administration 510(k) clearance for TIMS in the next few months.