Thursday, April 29, 2010

Done Deal

The deal is done.  Merge now owns AMICAS, and I've been a happy Merge customer for almost a day.  So far, so good.  From Yahoo Finance:

MILWAUKEE & BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today’s successful close of the merger agreement between Merge Healthcare Incorporated (NASDAQ: MRGE - News) and AMICAS, Inc. (formerly NASDAQ: AMCS) creates a leading medical imaging software and healthcare IT solutions provider with strong customer relationships, innovative solutions, significant cross selling capabilities, and a solid international presence. With a combined customer base of approximately 1500 hospital and 2200 outpatient sites in the U.S. alone, a complementary product suite, and distribution agreements in over 35 countries, Merge is well positioned to capitalize on the expected growth in the global medical imaging and healthcare IT markets.

“Merge and AMICAS each has a rich history of delivering innovative solutions for the medical imaging and healthcare IT markets,” notes Justin Dearborn, Merge CEO. “Despite some overlap in the outpatient imaging market, our solution sets are highly complementary. As a combined business, we will have excellent coverage for imaging and healthcare IT solutions across the continuum of care – from outpatient imaging sites to radiology, cardiology, and enterprise solutions serving the hospital market.”
Merge seems to have done everything right in this acquisition, save for Messrs. Dearborn and Ferro not calling to give me personal reassurances about the future of AMICAS PACS.  Gentlemen, I'll forgive you this faux pas as long as you keep up AMICAS' good work.  And I know that will happen, as it makes no sense for businessmen of your caliber to squander the kind of money we're talking about here. 

For many years, I drove nothing but Volvos.  I was convinced back then, in the late 70's through the mid 80's, (and I think it's still true) that Volvo made the safest cars on the road.  Mine (ultimately, I went through three of them) were certainly safe because they lived in the shop a great deal of the time, and were rarely out on the road long enough to have an accident.  The dealers who serviced them convinced me to switch to another line by somehow leaving the cars in worse shape after the visit to the shop than before.  But I remain a closet Volvo fan to this day.  I even considered buying another when my youngest child was born.  Sadly, my local Volvo dealer also carries another much more prestigious line, and it was made very clear to me that Volvo owners were second-class citizens in their domain.  So, I bought a Nissan Quest instead, which was made by Ford, and turned out to be one of the worst vehicles I have ever owned. 

Paradoxically, Ford bought Volvo in 1999, and seems to have pretty much left Volvo alone to do its thing.  Yes, Ford, the company that brought us the exploding Pinto, owns the manufacturer best known for safety.  That reputation continues in spite of the new masters.

I'm hoping that Merge, the company best known for eFilm (which does not explode when hit as far as I know, but is rather finicky about releasing CD-ROM's), will let the AMICAS people continue to do their thing as well.  AMICAS PACS, to veer from the above analogy, is rarely in the shop (we have had only a few hours of down-time over the past many years) but it is truly a "safe" PACS in that it doesn't get in the way of my interpreting my patients' images. 

For the short-run at least, I'm a captive audience.  Switching PACS is a very expensive and time-consuming proposition.  And there aren't too many alternatives.  Dynamic Imaging's IntegradWeb was one of the few contenders, a GUI worthy of the title, but it has been assimilated by the Collective, and has yet to reappear in any usable form that I know about, anyway.  I'll be keeping a close eye on Intelerad, though. 

Congratulations to the guys at Merge.  This purchase was very well-played.  Now let's get back to work.


Anonymous said...

I'll be very interested to see who runs the show at Merge. I would hope that they'd do it Buffet-style, where the best managers from EMAG, AMCS and MRGE are given responsibility.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Ford no longer owns Volvo. Sold it a while back for a huge loss. They also sold land rover and aston Martin which broke my heart. Jaguar was also toast.