LifeImage and EMC Planning New Cloud Storage Service for Medical Data

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the storage and security technologies, they are the leaders.”

To hear Tabatabaie tell it, it sounds like EMC’s interest in partnering with his firm complements the Hopkinton firm’s existing dominance in the business of providing hospitals with storage technology, specifically with networked systems that replace the tapes and CDs that clinical centers previously used to store imaging records. (EMC doesn’t break out sales by sector in their 2009 annual report, but it’s no secret that the company’s technology is widely used in hospitals and that the healthcare market is of strategic importance to the firm.) Yet public cloud storage, which essentially enables users to rent online storage on a pay-as-you-go basis, hasn’t yet caught on in healthcare and other industries, due in large part to security concerns.

Still, the conventional wisdom is cloud computing, in all its forms, isn’t going away. The day might come sooner than some people think when hospitals begin to warm up to storing important data such as patients’ radiology images and records in the cloud. And it appears that EMC, in partnership with Life Image, isn’t waiting around for that day to come.

Tabatabaie tells me that EMC was involved in the last company at which he served as chief executive, Amicas. Boston-based Amicas (NASDAQ:AMCS) provides software for managing digital medical images and other information in hospitals. EMC has had success in equipping hospitals with the infrastructure to support the kinds of image-management systems that Amicas sells. EMC was a venture investor in Amicas, according to one online report. And EMC’s Schwartz served on the Amicas board of directors during four of the six years that Tabatabaie was CEO of the software company, which was between 1999 and 2005. Schwartz is also a member of the board at Life Image, according to federal documents. (I guess that the lesson here for startups is that to hook up with a partner with the industry clout of EMC, it helps to have had success in previous relationships with said partner.)

Even with the EMC partnership, LifeImage faces a growing number of competitors. At next month’s HIMSS conference, San Diego-based healthcare software firm … Next Page »

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