LifeImage and EMC Planning New Cloud Storage Service for Medical Data

Xconomy Boston — 

When I went to visit LifeImage CEO Hamid Tabatabaie at his firm’s headquarters in Newton, MA, last week, one of my main goals was to learn more about the breadth and depth of the health IT startup’s ties with storage giant EMC (NYSE:EMC). That question was quickly answered when EMC senior VP Joel Schwartz walked into Tabatabaie’s office at the start of my interview with the CEO and said a casual goodbye to Tabatabaie.

Reality check: Senior executives like Schwartz from big tech firms don’t typically walk the hallways of startups unless they’ve got serious business with the smaller firms. And it turns out that LifeImage and Hopkinton, MA-based EMC are planning to announce a new cloud-based service for sharing medical images over the Internet at the annual HIMSS (Health Information and Management Systems Society) meeting in Atlanta early next month, according to Tabatabaie. This virtual drop box is targeted for use in trauma centers, and so will be called “Time,” which is short for Trauma Image Management and Exchange. Orthopedic surgeons, for example, could use their Time accounts to accept and share digital images of bone fractures. The system consists of software that LifeImage has built to run on the EMC “Atmos” cloud storage and computing platform.

I wasn’t able to talk to Schwartz about Time (in part because he ducked in and out of Tabatabaie’s office quite fast). But Tabatabaie provided some insights about where his firm and EMC are going with the project. For starters, it’s part of an overall effort at Life Image to address the lack of secure and accessible means for doctors and patients to share and transfer digital medical images, which are typically stored on CDs that patients hang onto and/or within the confines of individual IT systems at hospitals and other clinical centers. From a strategic perspective, Tabatabaie says that his firm and EMC are anticipating significant growth in the use of cloud technology for storage and sharing of medical images; the number of radiology exams done in the U.S. is projected to reach 1 billion per year by 2012.

“Healthcare imaging data is the largest health data [market] in size,” Tabatabaie says. “If anybody would want to own that [market], it should be EMC because they are the owners of both … Next Page »

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