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Samsung plans entry into U.S. PACS market


Samsung plans entry into U.S. PACS marketKorean vendor targets niche opportunitiesSeveral Asian vendors, including Toshiba, Medison, and Shimadzu, have developed PACS, but have elected not to bring those systems to the U.S. market. Korean

Samsung plans entry into U.S. PACS market

Korean vendor targets niche opportunities

Several Asian vendors, including Toshiba, Medison, and Shimadzu, have developed PACS, but have elected not to bring those systems to the U.S. market. Korean company Samsung SDS has different plans, however.

The Seoul-based firm is preparing a 510(k) submission for its Raypax PACS product line, with plans to file its application in September. The company hopes to receive U.S. regulatory clearance by the end of 1998, said Joon-Soo Jeong, manager for channel marketing for the U.S.

Five years in the making, the company's Raypax technology is based on Windows NT and Windows 95 and comprises display software, an image server, a film and paper printer server, modality interfaces, and a Web-based teleradiology system. The company can use any storage medium the customer chooses, he said. Samsung also offers a radiology information system and a DICOM 3.0 toolkit for developers.

The company is particularly proud of its proprietary compression schemes, which offer speedy lossless compression using a nonlinear prediction method. With the technique, a chest image can be lossless compressed in less than two seconds at a 4:1 ratio, he said.

Samsung began Asian sales of Raypax in April and so far has installed it at one site in South Korea. In addition, beta testing of Raypax was conducted at Samsung Medical Center in Seoul, where seven diagnostic workstations and 23 clinical review workstations were placed throughout the facility. The workstations were linked up to the site's existing Vantage PACS, which was purchased from Loral in 1994.

Outside of South Korea, the company has distributors set up in China, Japan, and Malaysia and has received several orders for locations in China and Japan. Installation is expected to begin in early 1999.

When U.S. clearance for Raypax is obtained, Samsung hopes to sell the offering through a distributor network, which will handle system installation, operation, and product support. In addition, Samsung hopes to secure OEM alliances for Raypax, he said. The company will exhibit in the U.S. for the first time at the 1998 Radiological Society of North America meeting.

Although Samsung plans to focus its efforts on the rapidly growing large-scale PACS sector, it also hopes to target medical specialties that it feels could benefit from PACS technology, including dentistry, chiropractic, endoscopy, nuclear medicine, and others.

"There's heavy competition in the PACS market in the U.S. today," he said. "While we hope eventually to provide customers with full PACS solutions, today we are focusing on finding niche markets."

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