imageWhen it comes to creating a viable, robust e-commerce environment for medical imaging products and services, some say the fulfillment of the promise has yet to materialize. The consolidation of e-commerce entrepreneurial efforts and the shakeout of e-commerce companies certainly garner attention. However, e-commerce in radiology continues to wind its way through the maze that is the marketplace. Vendors continue to build their offerings to create an e-solution that proponents view as a means to increase efficiency, offer timely information and cultivate customer relationships that will reap long-term benefits.

While some vendors offer their own sites for mostly service- and information-related offerings, they also have recognized the need to join forces with e-commerce marketplace companies, such as Neoforma (San Jose, Calif.) and Global Healthcare Exchange (GHX of Denver) to reach out on a larger scale. The collaborations are bringing together the healthcare providers (hospitals and hospital systems), equipment manufacturers, distributors, and group purchasing organizations (GPOs) to create an expanded marketplace for the members’ mutual benefit. The goal in creating this type of marketplace is for members to thrive in a connected, collaborative environment that they would not otherwise enjoy.

Conducting e-commerce for radiology may not be as easy as some originally thought, given collective buying teams that hospitals increasingly rely on, the multiple interactions that big-ticket items frequently require and the divergent information about products that never seems to be housed in one central location. But companies, such as GE Medical Systems (GEMS of Waukesha, Wis.), Siemens Medical Solutions (Iselin, N.J.) and Eastman-Kodak Co. (Rochester, N.Y.), continue to include an e-commerce approach as part of their overall business strategy. For the most part, however, offerings seem to be limited to information, consumables and accessories.

Please refer to the November 2001 issue for the complete story. For information on article reprints, contact Martin St. Denis