The Merge First Quarter Earnings Call takes place in a few moments. I’m probably not going to be on it, as I’m not an investor. Well, I am an investor in an AMICAS PACS system, making me a customer, and an investor of sorts, but that may not count. And besides, I have to do some barium enemas and upper GI’s this morning. The patients come first.
Let me bring everyone up to date. I’ve been in touch with several members of the old AMICAS team, people that I have come to know and trust over the years, people who know and trust me. It seems that many, if not most, were offered their positions back under their terms (working remotely, for example) at 4PM yesterday. I would like to think that Merge realized the truth in what I have been saying, hopefully from within and not due to the postings of one lone average radiologist. Sadly, this comes after too much water under the bridge. My friends as a man (gender-neutrally speaking) declined the offer. I asked them point blank if anything could reverse this decision. They again said, “No.” There had been too much acrimonious discussion leading up to the offer, and everyone concerned had more or less decided it was time to move on. And so they shall, as I understand it. I’m sure they will all live long and prosper.
As for me and my AMICAS systems (we have two, my group owns one, and the hospital owns the other), I’m going to sit tight. We all know in this business that it is impossible to switch from one vendor to another without considerable pain and suffering, not to mention a huge expenditure. Merge has finally reached out to me and other members of the (now defunct, I guess) Medical Advisory Board, and wants to meet with us to outline its plans for the future of AMICAS PACS. They have even invited Mike Cannavo, the One and Only PACSMan to come up as well. (We’re wondering if he and I should bring food tasters…just kidding.) While I can’t personally make it to Chicago any time soon, I’ll be in touch by phone, and I will listen, and contribute where I can. We customers are, for the moment, a captive audience, and I can only hope that Merge will do what I was promised it will do, continue to support and develop AMICAS PACS. I’m sure they will try to do so, although the loss of pretty much everyone who built this software from the ground up is a terriffic blow to this effort.
I am going to be cautiously optimistic. What else can I do? We have to move on. I’ll let you know how it goes. And I’ll be looking very, very carefully at the rest of the market.
By the way, I just got this comment from Anonymous (of course!):
Dr. Dalai: I think you should find the time to go visit Merge. They’ve reached out to you, albeit belatedly, and I think you should reach back. Also, I think you should try to convince some of your Amicas friends to come back. After all, if you care about the quality of the product as much as you claim, it behooves you to do so.
I will make the trip when my schedule allows, and I’m in touch in the meantime. As far as convincing anyone to return, I’ve really gone way far out on a limb on that, more than you guys will ever know. I’ve done what I can do. Funny how it’s now my responsibility in the mind of Anonymous at least to do so.
I should add something else. I don’t want to be the center of attention, believe it or not. I’m a generally shy fellow, and I don’t like conflict very much. I inserted myself into this fray to preserve a product that I firmly believe helps me help my patients. That’s all I want out of the whole thing. Hopefully, my fifteen minutes of fame has now passed, and we can get back to business.