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Wam!Net joins forces with Emerald Archiving


Wam!Net joins forces with Emerald ArchivingStorage outsourcing firms plan joint sales callsThe archiving component of PACS is one of the most complicated elements of digital image management. Many market analysts believe that this area of

Wam!Net joins forces with Emerald Archiving

Storage outsourcing firms plan joint sales calls

The archiving component of PACS is one of the most complicated elements of digital image management. Many market analysts believe that this area of the market is ripe for outsourcing.

To take advantage of this market opportunity, two archiving outsourcing firms–Wam!Net Medical and Emerald Archiving–have entered into a sales alliance.

Emerald, which has participated in the PACS market for more than 12 years, provides services that enable PACS purchasers to scan all their file-room films into a digital format, allowing healthcare institutions to immediately gain the benefits of viewing prior films off the PACS network.

Emerald’s services include Digital Image Archiving Service, in which Emerald technicians digitize patient files and reports and index and store the images on digital linear tapes (DLT). The tapes are usually returned to the facility to be transferred into the institution’s PACS network.

Emerald also offers a DICOM Conversion Service, which allows healthcare institutions to convert modality disks and/or tapes stored in a proprietary fashion into a DICOM 3.0 format. Finally, the Niceville, FL-based firm offers an Offsite Archiving System (OASys), in which analog films can be stored off-site at Emerald’s service center. When needed, an Emerald technician pulls the hard copy, digitizes it, and transmits it to the facility via teleradiology.

Wam!Net, on the other hand, plans to offer a digital image archiving service through which hospitals could outsource all of their long-term archiving needs. With the service, DICOM-compatible workstations push images headed for the long-term archive through a Wam!Net wide-area network to off-site storage facilities maintained by the company. The company has placed the offering in beta testing at Waukesha Memorial Hospital in Waukesha, WI, and Bay State University Hospital in Springfield, MA. Availability of the Wam!Net offering is expected for U.S. customers in the fourth quarter.

The digital image archiving service also includes a digital transport service, which in addition to serving as the transmission medium for the storage offering, is being marketed as a stand-alone service. The company is targeting healthcare institutions that may be interested in transmitting medical images to other facilities without tying up WAN bandwidth with large image files.

The firm’s first contract for the digital transport service, from the Immigration and Naturalization Service, will be up and running in the third quarter, said Wam!Net medical director of marketing Mark Hunter. The INS will transmit computed radiography images from a site in Port Isabella, TX, to the Milwaukee VA Medical Center (PNN 4/99).

The two companies have complementary offerings, according to Emerald president Joe Friedman.

"We’re not competing against each other, but we’re talking to all of the same people," Friedman said. "So this relationship makes a lot of sense."

The Emerald/Wam!Net deal also improves the geographic sales coverage for both firms, Friedman said. The two have not yet landed any customers together, but joint sales calls have taken place.

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