February 27, 2015 -- One of the oldest names in imaging informatics is going by the wayside as PACS firm DR Systems has been acquired by Merge Healthcare. While the DR Systems name will be retired as part of the deal, founder and CEO Dr. Murray Reicher has been named chief medical officer (CMO) of Merge.I've met Dr. Reicher one one occasion, and he is a perfect choice for CMO. He is very well spoken, and truly a pioneer in this business. In fact, DR holds quite a few core patents in PACS, as some other companies have painfully discovered.
The deal unites two midlevel PACS providers and gives Merge additional scale to compete with larger multinational firms in the imaging informatics space. It also expands Merge's geographic footprint to DR Systems' core market in the Western U.S., while broadening the combined company's portfolio of intellectual property.
The deal was finalized on February 25, according to Michael Klozotsky, vice president of marketing at Merge.
Founded in 1992
DR Systems was founded in 1992 by neuroradiologist Reicher along with another brain imaging specialist, Dr. Evan Fram. Reicher and Fram said they founded the company out of dissatisfaction with existing PACS software available at the time.
The closely held company charted its own course over the years, remaining fiercely independent even as the rest of the radiology industry consolidated. The company gained a reputation for high levels of customer satisfaction, as evidenced by a string of top rankings in KLAS reports, as well as for its aggressive defense of its patents for PACS software.
Through the years, Reicher maintained his active role with the San Diego firm, serving as a frequent speaker at industry events and publishing peer-reviewed articles on imaging informatics. He assumed the position of CEO again earlier this year after the retirement of longtime chief executive Rick Porritt.
In announcing the acquisition, Merge cited the broad array of healthcare information technology software that will be offered by the combined firm, including DR Systems' eMix image-sharing service, RIS software, and cardiology and pathology offerings. Both companies also offer traditional PACS and RIS/PACS software and, indeed, have long been competitors in the acute care and ambulatory markets, Klozotsky said.
Merge cited the high customer satisfaction ratings of the combined entity, with No. 1 ratings according to KLAS surveys for cardiovascular information systems, hemodynamic monitoring software, and RIS software. Merge also plans to offer its iConnect Network services, including exam preauthorization, through DR Systems' installed base.
In addition to adding Reicher as CMO, Merge said it plans to keep DR Systems' San Diego headquarters open as its West Coast regional office. DR Systems employs some 180 people, according to Wikipedia. Merge will also maintain support for DR Systems' core software platform, continue with current implementations, and support and advance all product lines, the company said.
Merge expects the deal to be accretive to earnings per share under nongenerally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) in 2015 and future years. Merge financed the deal through a combination of $20 million in cash on hand and $50 million in cash raised from the sale of shares of recently issued preferred stock.
The deal is the latest in a long string of acquisitions that Merge has made over the years as it grew from a niche firm offering data connectivity software to perhaps the largest independent PACS firm. Other acquisitions have included Amicas, Cedara Software, Confirma, RIS Logic, and eFilm Medical.
Merge's most recent acquisition is designed to give the combined entity the heft to move forward in a healthcare industry where size increasingly matters.
"As healthcare continues to consolidate, scale is very, very important," Klozotsky. "This allows Merge to really operate on an entirely different level of scale."
We are assembled here today to pay final respects to our honored dead. And yet it should be noted that in the midst of our sorrow, this death takes place in the shadow of new life, the sunrise of a new world; a world that our beloved comrade gave his life to protect and nourish. He did not feel this sacrifice a vain or empty one, and we will not debate his profound wisdom at these proceedings. Of my friend, I can only say this: of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most... human.Star Trek gave us hope of new worlds, of new ideas, in the midst of the strife of the 1960's. We need this encouragement even more today.
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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ordered a recall of thousands of MRI scanners manufactured by GE Healthcare to correct a problem that could "result in life-threatening injuries" if magnet shutdown modules are disconnected, according to an FDA notice.You can find the FDA notice HERE. You'll have to scroll through thousands of serial numbers to get to the meat of the notice:
In the notice, dated February 18, the FDA announced that it has ordered a class I device recall of all GE MRI scanners using superconducting magnets. The recall covers some 33 brand names of scanners and thousands of systems distributed throughout the world, manufactured from 1985 to today.
The notice describes the problem as pertaining to the systems' magnet rundown units (MRUs), which are designed to initiate a controlled quench and turn off the magnetic field in the event of certain problems with the scanner, such as a ferromagnetic object introduced into the MRI suite. Such shutdowns are only intended for extreme emergencies and can put an MRI magnet out of commission for a week or more and cost up to $30,000 to replace lost helium, according to the website MRIQuestions.com.
In GE's case, a scanner's magnetic rundown unit may not actually be connected to the scanner, according to the FDA recall notice. In an emergency, a disconnected MRU "could delay removal of a ferrous object from the magnet, potentially resulting in life-threatening injuries," the notice said.
|At certain sites, the MRU may not be connected to the magnet. In emergency situations, a disconnected MRU could delay removal of a ferrous object from the magnet, potentially resulting in life-threatening injuries. The MRU must be connected to the magnet at all times.|
|TRAINING: Employee Error|
|Action||GE Healthcare sent an "Urgent Medical Device Correction" letter GEHC Ref# 60876 dated January 6, 2015 to affected consignees. The letter was addressed to Hospital Administrators / Risk Managers, Radiology Department Managers, & Radiologists. The letter described the Safety Issue, Safety Instructions, Affected Product Details, Product Correction & Contact Information. Customers were instructed to do the following: As a preventative measure, confirm that MRU is connected to the magnet by performing the following four step test on the MRU. |
1. Verify the green CHARGER POWER LED is lit.
2. Depress and hold the TEST BATTERY switch for 15 seconds. The green BATTERY TEST LED should light and remain lit while the TEST BATTERY switch is depressed.
3. Place the TEST HEATER toggle switch in the A position. The green HEATER TEST LED should light. If it does not light, depress TEST HEATER LED switch to verify that the LED is functioning.
4. Place the TEST HEATER toggle switch in the B position. Green HEATER TEST LED should light. If it does not light, depress TEST HEATER LED switch to verify that the LED is functioning.
If the MRU test does not perform as described in each of the 4 steps above, GEHC strongly recommends that you stop using the system, and immediately call your GEHC representative. Customers with questions may contact their local service representative. For questions regarding this recall call 262-513-4122.
|Quantity in Commerce||12,968 (5,708 US, 7,260 OUS).|
|Distribution||Worldwide Distribution - US Nationwide in all states in continental USA including DC, PR, GU, and the countries of ALBANIA, ALGERIA, ARGENTINA, AUSTRALIA, AUSTRIA, AZERBAIJAN, BAHRAIN, BELARUS, BELGIUM, BOLIVIA, BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA, BRAZIL, BULGARIA, CANADA, CHILE, CHINA, COLOMBIA, COSTA RICA, CROATIA, CYPRUS, CZECH REPUBLIC, DENMARK, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, ECUADOR, EGYPT, EL SALVADOR,K ESTONIA, FINLAND, FRANCE, FRENCH POLYNESIA, GEORGIA, GERMANY, GREECE, GUADELOUPE, GUATEMALA, GUYANA, HONDURAS, HONG KONG, HUNGARY, ICELAND, INDIA, INDONESIA, IRAN, IRELAND, ISRAEL, ITALY, JAMAICA, JAPAN, JORDAN, KAZAKHSTAN, KENYA, REPUBLIC OF KOREA, KUWAIT, LATVIA, LEBANON, LIBYAN ARAB JAMAHIRIYA, LITHUANIA, LUXEMBOURG, MACEDONIA, MALAYSIA, MALTA, MARTINIQUE, MAURITIUS, MEXICO, MOROCCO, NETHERLANDS, NEW CALEDONIA, NEW ZEALAND, NICARAGUA, NIGERIA, NORWAY, OMAN, PAKISTAN, PANAMA, PARAGUAY, PERU, PHILIPPINES, POLAND, PORTUGAL, QATAR, REUNION, ROMANIA, RUSSIA, SAUDI ARABIA, SERBIA, SINGAPORE, SLOVAKIA, SLOVENIA, SOUTH AFRICA, SPAIN, SUDAN, SWEDEN, SWITZERLAND, SYRIA, TAIWAN, THAILAND, TUNISIA, TURKEY, UKRAINE , UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, UNITED KINGDOM, URUGUAY, UZBEKISTAN, VENEZUELA, VIETNAM, ZAMBIA.|
The company said it learned of the problem after discovering that some MRI scanners in India had been modified by service personnel or by equipment users to disable the magnet rundown unit. In addition to alerting customers to the problem, GE noted that the red magnet rundown button should only be pressed in an emergency situation.Now why, one might ask, would anyone want to disable the MRU? Inquiring minds want to know. And did we really need the reminder that the big red button that says, "PRESS IN CASE OF EMERGENCY" should be pressed only in an emergency? Perhaps that tells us something about GE's opinion of its customers.
It (the MRU) was never connected or properly installed. We can't disconnect it. So it was a GE issue. Big problem though.