Mercy Health invests in cloud PACS, teleradiology company NucleusHealth

Microsoft Azure powers the company's platform, which aims to offer hospitals and health systems scalability and security for more efficient imaging management.
By Mike Miliard
01:46 PM
Mercy Health's Anderson Hospital in Cincinnati

Cincinnati-based Mercy Health announced this week that it is investing in San Diego-based NucleusHealth, developer of cloud-hosted picture archiving communications systems and teleradiology services. Terms of the investment were not disclosed.

Mercy Health implemented the technology this past year, and apparently liked it so much that it's decided to become a minority investor in the company.

It's the most recent instance of a health system embracing that strategy for innovation – partnering with a third-party vendor to help spread technology it believes can help drive improvements for other hospitals.

In 2016, NewYork-Presbyterian purchased a stake in telehealth company Avizia, for instance, and UPMC invested in predictive analytics and pop health startup RxAnte.

NucleusHealth's platform leverages secure Microsoft Azure cloud for better scalability and cost efficiency for PACS.

The health system implemented the technology in less than three months – and managed to extend out a sharing network of 300 different locations over the next six, said Mike Hibbard, Mercy Health's vice president of IT, applications and service delivery.

Mercy Health's IT team now taps as a backup PACS when the main enterprise system is undergoing updates or maintenance, but may expand its use for other applications, he noted.

NucleusHealth will still operate as an independent company, but will work in tandem with Mercy Health to create new features and workflows for system-wide deployment of its browser radiology workstation, Azure-based cloud storage and other image management tools, officials said.

"We are very pleased to have this unique opportunity to partner with Microsoft and one of the nation’s best health systems,” said Vishal Verma, MD, NucleusHealth CEO. “This combined team has the unique ability to optimize our platform to create a true transformation of the medical imaging market."

Mercy Health, which operates hospitals across Ohio and into Kentucky, is not to be confused with Mercy, the large St. Louis-based health system that spans Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas and Oklahoma. But both have made big cloud-hosted PACS news in the past two weeks.

Earlier this month, Mercy Technology Services, the IT division of St. Louis-based Mercy, announced it would commercialize its own cloud-based PACS system for other hospitals to deploy.

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