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Vendor Profile: IDX adds image management to established RIS product line


Vendor Profile: IDX adds image management to established RIS product lineImaging Suite installed at three alpha sitesAlthough the technical challenges can differ considerably, it makes good business sense in the current healthcare

Vendor Profile:
IDX adds image management to established RIS product line

Imaging Suite installed at three alpha sites

Although the technical challenges can differ considerably, it makes good business sense in the current healthcare environment for experienced information technology companies to branch out into image management. Recognizing the increasing opportunities for integrated image and information systems, a number of healthcare IT vendors have stepped up their activities in this sector in recent years.

One of the largest of these is IDX Systems, a 30-year veteran of the health information systems business. IDX was founded in 1969 by CEO Richard Tarrant as Burlington Data Processing, a small firm specializing in general payroll, billing, and accounting services. But within two years, BDP began focusing on the healthcare industry. After a 1978 merger with Interpretive Data Systems, another data processing vendor, IDX continued to expand, establishing offices in key cities across the U.S. The company officially changed its name to IDX in 1986, shortly after launching its first electronic medical record product.

Other key corporate and product developments in the last decade include the 1991 launch of IDXrad, the company’s leading RIS product; the 1994 introduction of a computerized patient record system, now called the Clinical Management System; an initial public offering in 1995; the 1997 acquisition of Phamis, an HIS vendor in Seattle; and the 1999 acquisitions of EDiX, a transcription services company, and ChannelHealth, a developer of Web-based healthcare services that now serves as IDX’s Internet subsidiary.

In addition to EDiX and ChannelHealth, IDX comprises four core business units and 3000 employees, with annual revenues exceeding $300 million. Its RIS and related radiology products are handled through the Radiology and Imaging Solutions division (RISD); the other divisions are ISD (Integrated Solutions Division), ESD (Enterprise Solutions Division), and SD (Systems Division).

IDX first entered the RIS business in 1991 through a unique opportunity with Digital Equipment Corporation. DEC had responded to a request for proposals issued by RISC (the Radiology Information System Consortium, now the Society for Computer Applications in Radiology) in 1981 to develop an RIS. When DEC decided to divest its software business, IDX stepped in and helped co-develop the first version of this RIS, originally known as DECrad. Ultimately, IDX took over the project from DEC, and in 1991 DECrad became IDXrad, IDX’s first commercial RIS product.

Since that time, IDX has released nine versions of this system and now claims about 160 IDXrad customers, representing 260 installed sites. IDXrad is a scalable, platform-independent system built on a Web-based architecture. Various modules include patient registration, scheduling, tracking, image management, diagnostic reporting, accounting, and follow-up. The current version is 9.7, but IDX plans to launch version 10 at this year’s RSNA meeting as part of its Enterprise Radiology Solution strategy.

Release 10 of IDXrad, which has been in development for two years, differs substantially from earlier versions, according to Debra Stenner, vice president of development for RISD. It was written in Java and is entirely Web-based, so it can run on multiple platforms over a wide area network using Internet Explorer. In fact, it was designed to be an enterprise-based product, with an embedded workflow engine and multiorganizational scheduling and tracking capabilities.

The other key component of the Enterprise Radiology Solution is the IDX Imaging Suite, which is designed to facilitate enterprise-wide multimodality image access and archiving. This new product, which will also be formally introduced at the RSNA meeting, is a set of modules that integrate patient and clinical information in IDXrad with third-party modality and archiving functions. The Imaging Suite does not have its own PACS component but can be integrated with any PACS, Stenner said.

“We are a database and information systems company, so it is easy for us to plug in third-party solutions for those places where we believe our core competencies are not best utilized,” she said.

While IDX has resisted forming alliances with any single PACS vendor, the company does have an informal relationship with their Medical Systems that is built on Siemens’ integration success at the Cleveland Clinic (PNN 4/99), Stenner said.

Future prospectsThe Enterprise Radiology Solution is the first phase of IDX’s plan to develop an enterprise-wide solution for integrating multimodality medical images and information. Over the next year, RISD expects to expand beyond radiology into other hospital departments with the technology and architecture underlying IDXRad and IDX Imaging Suite.

IDX Systems

1400 Shelburne Road
Box 1070
Burlington, VT 05402-1070
fax: 802/864-9162


Key personnelRichard Tarrant, CEOJim Crook, president and COOWalt Marti, vice president, Radiology and Information Solutions Division (RISD)Debra Stenner, vice president of development, RISD

RISD product lineIDXradIDX Imaging Suite

Product distributionDirect sales

PartnershipsDome Imaging

Key installationsStanford University School of Medicine; Cleveland Clinic Foundation; Medical University of South Carolina; University of Pennsylvania Medical Center

Strategic focusTo use information technology to improve the quality of patient service, enhance medical outcomes, and reduce the costs of care. In radiology, to deliver on the promise of accessing information and images regardless of user location.

© 1999

Miller Freeman, Inc.

All rights reserved.

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