In May 2015, Fujifilm Medical Systems U.S.A., a leading vendor in the Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS) market, acquired TeraMedica, an established vendor in the global Vendor Neutral Archives (VNA) market. Industry experts see this acquisition as a logical progression of a partnership in VNA technology that began in 2013. The partnership was a good move for both vendors as Fujifilm benefitted from TeraMedica’s expertise and extensive experience in VNA while TeraMedica benefitted from Fujifilm’s global presence, financial stability, and size.
The acquisition is significant for a number of reasons. Firstly, healthcare enterprises are showing interest in VNA having a centralized data center and single point access to all healthcare data in a way that is independent of the type of vendor they are using for specialty level applications such as PACS. Secondly, hospitals are increasingly replacing their legacy PACS systems with VNA for interoperability and a seamless transition of patient data. This is particularly true for large hospitals where data management and access becomes increasingly difficult. Moreover, the acquisition will help Fujifilm accelerate the integration process of its PACS solution with TeraMedica’s VNA to help customers meet meaningful-use requirements in an easier and cost-effective way.
TeraMedica is a good fit for Fujifilm
In early 2013, Fujifilm recognized a growing interest in VNA as healthcare providers required a cost-effective and secure way to store and access a growing volume of patient images. This led to a highly productive partnership with TeraMedica, a leading independent VNA vendor with more than 300 customers worldwide; for example, TeraMedica’s VNA manages medical images of 7 million patients and 300 public healthcare systems in Australia.
The two-year partnership between Fujifilm and TeraMedica laid a strong platform for the acquisition as Fujifilm was not active in VNA earlier and the deal will add a non-redundant layer to Fujifilm’s architecture. The acquisition will help Fujifilm offer a holistic solution for healthcare providers to manage patient images using a centralized data center and, from a business point of view, it will be able to increase its presence in the rapidly growing VNA market.
The deal indicates Fujifilm’s clear intentions of positioning itself as a dedicated VNA vendor and not a PACS vendor with add-on VNA capabilities. This will help the company differentiate itself from traditional PACS suppliers that struggle to provide a non-proprietary, standards-based approach to archiving. A standards-based approach is important to give providers cross-departmental access to images without the data being locked into their PACS. TeraMedica’s reputation as an established and successful player in the VNA market, plus its experience of working with PACS systems from other vendors, will help Fujifilm convince new customers to adopt the new VNA solution. Ovum expects Fujifilm to grow its sales due to the larger sales network and a broad range of specialty PACS offerings including radiology, cardiology, and now VNA. The vendor will continue to invest in TeraMedica’s VNA technology for long-term growth.
At present, Fujifilm TeraMedica VNA allows providers to access and present their data in a patient-centric way. In addition to this, the solution features a hierarchy of permissions to classify the types of patient data and restrict data access to authorized users. Conventional PACS solutions have these features in parts but Fujifilm TeraMedica combines all of them into a centralized solution. The solution is expected to become even more robust as Fujifilm integrates its PACS solution with TeraMedica’s VNA. For example, a dashboard that provides a graphical view of the PACS data entered into the VNA system could prevent duplication of data on the PACS system. The dashboard will include safeguards such as comparing images, patients, and exam counts.
Best-Practice Electronic Patient Record Deployment at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, IT0011-000341 (February 2015)
2015 Trends to Watch: Healthcare Technology, IT0011-000328 (November 2014)
Srikanth Venkataraman, Analyst, Healthcare Technology