Eastman Kodak Co., which already has a big toe in the water of the healthcare information technology market with its picture archiving and communication systems and radiology information systems, is planning to target the community-hospital market as a developer of an enterprisewide clinical information system.
Kodak expects to officially announce its entry in the enterprise IT market at the Health Information Management Systems Society meeting in Dallas beginning Feb. 13. But the company used the giant Radiological Society of North America trade show in Chicago this week to offer sneak peeks of the system and to elicit feedback from a special list of customers, said Kodak's Todd Vanderven.
Kodak and radiology go back more than 100 years and it's a $3 billion a year business for the company today, said Vanderven, general manager of programs, marketing and business development and vice president of health imaging of the Rochester, N.Y.-based company.
But, he said, "if you look at what's going on in radiology, you're seeing imaging and information merging together."
Vanderven said Kodak's IT system plans were introduced to chief information officers and chief executive officers on an invitation-only basis in an upstairs showroom at the RSNA trade show. The company is aiming for hospitals in the 150- to 400-bed range, which is below the target size for the mainline enterprise IT systems of vendors whose products are priced beyond the reach of these smaller hospitals, according to Vanderven.
The smaller vendors that are working in the community-hospital market segment don't have the financial strength and stability of Kodak, he said.
"What we like is nobody else has filled that niche," he said. "We think that's a sweet spot."
Kodak also will offer a version of the system for diagnostic imaging centers. Kodak will not be targeting the physician-office market, per se, but the company understands that its system must be scalable to allow a hospital to extend IT services to its outpatient facilities and office-based practices, he said.
Vanderven said Kodak would be able to compete on price by using a system it will jointly develop with IBA Health, Sydney, Australia. IBA Health in July announced a five-year, $50 million sales and product development agreement under which it would exclusively license its clinical information software to Kodak in all markets worldwide except Australia, New Zealand and parts of Southeast Asia where the company already had established business.
In July 2003, Kodak paid $500 million for PracticeWorks, Atlanta, a leading vendor of clinical information systems for dentists and a company that only seven months earlier had purchased Paris-based Trophy Radiologie, a vendor of digital dental radiology systems. Kodak had had its eyes on Trophy at the time of its purchase by PracticeWorks, Vanderven said, and when Kodak acquired PracticeWorks, it helped the company integrate the two firm's systems for dentistry.
Moving into expanded electronic medical record systems for use by physicians and other medical staffers was a logical next step for the company, according to Vanderven.
"Ninety percent of information in an EMR is imaging, and we know that cold," he said.