DeJarnette begins shift to complete PACS offeringsFirm plans late 1999 introduction of RadianceHaving survived the ups and downs of the PACS industry for more than a decade, DeJarnette Research Systems has set its sights on becoming as
DeJarnette begins shift to complete PACS offeringsFirm plans late 1999 introduction of Radiance
Having survived the ups and downs of the PACS industry for more than a decade, DeJarnette Research Systems has set its sights on becoming as successful in the systems business as it has been in the components realm. The company plans to release its first complete PACS offering at the 1999 RSNA meeting, and increasingly relies on direct sales rather than OEM channels for distribution of its technology. The vendor has experienced explosive growth since the early 1990s, and today averages 60% annual revenue increases, according to DRS founder and president Wayne DeJarnette.
DRS began in the early 1980s as a one-man consulting firm specializing in medical imaging and multimodality displays. This work led DeJarnette to become involved in the development of the ACR-NEMA and DICOM standards in the mid 1980s. He then elected to discontinue consulting and concentrate on developing systems integration products for a market that did not yet recognize the need for such devices.
We were originally a one-trick pony, DeJarnette said. Then we were given the opportunity to develop these protocol converters, and as we did that we learned about more opportunities and began developing various PACS components.
Using $850,000 in state and federal grants, DeJarnette hired some engineers and embarked on DRSs first commercial product line, protocol converters. The companys first real product was a single computer board that fit inside an IBM PC and allowed GE Medical Systems CT and MR scanners to be connected to a network. DRS then took that board and wrote some application software, and it became the ImageShare 910, the companys first-generation multimodality protocol converter. Today, DRS continues to realize significant revenue from its DICOM-to-DICOM conversion technology.
The need for some of these boxes has been obviated by the development of DICOM, but we still sell a lot of (second-generation) protocol converters, he said. And we will be developing a third-generation product because the need for these has not gone away.
Other current products in the DRS stable include ImageShare acquisition workstations, VisiShare Windows NT-based display workstations (developed in collaboration with Columbia Scientific), MediShare IQ database manager and HIS/RIS interface, NetShare IQ DICOM connectivity device, and the TeleShare and TeleView teleradiology systems.
What really distinguishes Radiance from other products is that it is the first real third-generation PACS that is not based on a migration from a previous design or technology or architecture, DeJarnette said.
DRS plans to begin selling Radiance at this years RSNA meeting and continues to do some fine-tuning on its beta site installation at Akron General Hospital in Ohio. Other new products, including a stand-alone teleradiology solution and an integrated RIS/PACS system, are planned for launch at this years RSNA meeting as well. DRS also plans to announce a new partnership with Voxar that will take advantage of that companys 3-D reconstruction software.
DRS has relied primarily on OEM relationships throughout much of its history, supplying a variety of components to all the large-scale PACS vendors at one time or another, DeJarnette said. But the company has begun shifting its sales strategy to direct sales in recent years to take advantage of what DeJarnette views as the PACS industrys coming of age. Direct end-user sales now account for 85% of DRSs business, versus just 30% two years ago, and are expected to continue to supplant the companys OEM sales.
Protocol converters were almost a 100% OEM business for us in the early 1990s, DeJarnette said. But we have learned some things in this industry from the first- and second-generation systems, and I think PACS will become much more affordable, will solve many more problems in terms of work flow, and will be something you have to have to be in business.
Part of the companys new strategy includes taking a more integrated approach to the PACS and radiology markets and developing components for multiple applications in addition to full-scale PACS products. In line with this, DRS recently purchased Swearingen Software, a Houston-based radiology information system (RIS) firm with whom DRS was already partnered (PNN 1/99). Among other things, DRS plans to integrate Swearingens RMS RIS with the Radiance PACS product line to give customers access to joint RIS/PACS solutions with significant work flow benefits, according to DeJarnette.
Other operational changes in the offing include plans to go public sometime in the next three to five years. In the meantime, DRSwhich DeJarnette said is approached about 10 times a year by interested buyerswill evaluate all options to continue its high growth rate.
We will continue to grow based upon internal business and existing business, but we are looking more and more at acquisitions, DeJarnette said.
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