This article was originally published in Start Up
InPhact aims to combine teleradiology with picture archiving and communications systems (PACS). The teleradiology services use the web to get images to radiologists in diagnostic form and to referring physicians in review form. Unlike the new applications service providers (ASPs), InPhact goes further, not only managing the transmission and storage of images on line, but also the on-line transmission of other radiology services, such as billing, data-collection, transcription. The four-year-old company has raised $14 million, and includes among its investors GE Medical Systems and MDS Capital.
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In the ten years or so since picture archiving and communications systems (PACS) were introduced, only 15% of hospitals in the US have implemented them in their radiology departments; the vast majority of hospitals handle most images as they have for years--on film and manually. The reasons are many, but cost is a big factor. Hospitals simply don't have money to pay for expensive PACS. A new business model, the application service provider (ASP) offers a solution. ASPs centralize alot of PACS services, serving multiple clients at once, and archiving digital images off-site at a central location. Hospitals pay on a per transaction basis and avoid the upfront costs of installing capital equipment. The web has made this possible because images can be transmitted over the Internet to off-site storage locations.
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