Life Image Captures $2.5M Series A, Working with EMC for Digital Medical Image Service

6/4/09

Life Image was launched in January 2008 with core software developed at Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital. Now the Newton, MA-based startup is charging ahead with cash from a $2.5 million Series A round of equity financing closed quietly in April, aiming to close gaps in the way digital medical images are shared and stored, company officials tell Xconomy.

With an initial focus on radiology images, Life Image is developing software and a service intended to do several key things. It allows hospitals and imaging centers to index and search their vast libraries of digital medical images such as X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans. It provides patients and physicians with cloud-based inboxes to securely store and enable the transfer of their medical images (as opposed to the current practice of hospitals burning the data onto compact discs for patients to keep.) And it offers an infrastructure for securely sharing digital medical images among doctors from different hospitals and medical offices—among other features.

Hamid Tabatabaie, a former CEO of Boston-based medical image software firm Amicas (NASDAQ:AMCS), is heading Life Image as the founding chief executive. Life Image, he tells me, is on the right side of history because its technology could help save U.S. healthcare organizations an estimated $10 billion to $20 billion spent annually on radiology images that already exist somewhere but, in many cases, need to be redone because they aren’t easily retrievable. The startup, which plans a public release of its service this fall, could also provide a way for hospitals to give patients access to their records that’s less expensive and more efficient than putting them on a CD.

In general, over-utilization in medicine, including redundant imaging exams, is believed to be a significant contributor to skyrocketing healthcare costs in the U.S. “A lot of payers, both on the government side and the private side, have begun to put incentives and disincentives in place to address over-utilization,” Tabatabaie says. “So that was our Holy Grail—we got what we needed to align interests.” Otherwise, radiology departments, for example, would have no reason not to repeat certain exams because those exams generate additional revenue. Life Image could help reduce instances of redundant medical imaging, enabling hospitals and doctors to capitalize on incentives for avoiding repeat exams.

For its first round of financing, Life Image drew equity investments from Boston venture capital groups … Next Page »

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