By Aine Cryts

The need for social isolation during this coronavirus pandemic has changed the way many of us go about our daily lives—including the way we access medical services, says Morris Panner, chief executive officer of New York-based Ambra Health, a medical-data and image-management company.

“Ambra’s web-based imaging solutions eliminate the need for many in-person interactions and are in greater demand than ever before,” he tells AXIS Imaging News. Panner credits the company’s customer-success and support teams with interacting with clients on a regular basis through one-on-one email and phone interactions. That’s in addition to the company’s monthly product spotlights, webinars, and product software update emails.

For example, Panner points to a recent webinar organized by Ambra Health for its health system clients that are increasingly offering virtual and telehealth capabilities. The webinar demonstrated how the company’s solutions can support virtual-imaging needs, such as image sharing with patients and other providers, over the web, he explains.

AXIS Imaging News recently interviewed Panner about the company’s approach to communicating with clients about Ambra Health’s business-continuity plans and ways it can help support clients during the coronavirus pandemic. What follows is a lightly edited version of that conversation.

AXIS Imaging News: What are you telling clients about your business-continuity plans? How are you helping your clients as they navigate through caring for patients during the coronavirus pandemic?

Morris Panner: All of our employees are currently working remotely, and we have canceled our spring event schedule. We’re moving conversations online through virtual meetings where possible. Ambra Health has always had a flexible remote-work policy, which makes the transition to fully work from home a very seamless transition for us. All of our remote employee-collaboration tools and processes are firmly in place, which has enabled our business operations to continue without disruption.

The stability of our business operations has enabled our employees to focus their attention on how we can be most useful to our hospital clients during this critical time. There are several ways that we can help facilities. The first is in regards to image intake and eliminating the need for patients to appear in person to an appointment with a CD in hand. We allow patients to submit imaging from the safety of their homes. This capability is fully customizable and can be published on an institution’s website, emailed to a patient population, or sent to specific patients directly. Healthcare facilities that want to submit imaging can also use this capability.

In addition, Ambra Health enables various teleradiology workflows. Facilities can enable physicians to conduct diagnostic reads and complete radiology reports using our web-based FDA 510k-cleared diagnostic viewer and reporting module. Physicians can even use the meetings feature to send meeting links to colleagues to collaborate and review imaging.

AXIS: How are you encouraging collaboration among employees and clients?

Panner: Our employees keep in touch with one another and customers through virtual meetings, video calls, and online tools like Slack that allow constant communication.

AXIS: How often are you communicating with clients?

Panner: Employees and customers are in constant dialogue with one another. We have had this in practice for years, and we have fostered a culture of collaboration and connection regardless of physical location. As a company, we were fortunate to have established a customer-success function well before the crisis.

For example, Chantel Hopper, director of customer success, lives by the mandate to serve as an honest broker with our customers and be proactive with them.

Most software companies have a sales function driven by commissions and a services function designed to complete specific projects and respond to problems. We have that, but our fantastic customer-success team came in to set up a very different function that wasn’t driven by commissions. Their job is to simply ask these two questions of our customers: “How are you doing?” and “Can we help?”

That’s the theme of our response in these complex times. We aren’t driving to commercial outcomes. We have a bigger mission. Our company knows it, and our customers are used to hearing from us and probably appreciate it now more than ever.

AXIS: Why are you doing this? One could argue that it takes your teams away from other vital work.

Panner: By moving medical imaging to the cloud, Ambra technology empowers hospitals to innovate at scale. Hospitals across the country are rapidly ramping up telehealth and virtual services and need technology partners they can count on. Our modern business practices have enabled us to support our existing customers when they need us most and connect with new clients looking to move imaging infrastructure to the cloud.