S&D and vRad Form New York Radiology Alliance

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On August 23, Virtual Radiologic (vRad), Eden Prairie, Minn, and New York’s S&D Medical, a 60-person radiology practice based in Bedford, NY, announced the launch of a new strategic alliance. Merging S &D with a vRad-affiliated medical practice, the partnership will form a new group called the New York Radiology Alliance, which will serve the New York City and New Jersey metropolitan area. The merger is set to take effect on October 1, 2010.

“As the competition in radiology becomes greater, the resources that are needed will become greater as well,” says Kenneth Schwartz, MD, managing partner of S &D Medical. “We felt that partnering with vRad would give us the additional resources we would need to continue to expand and provide the services we’d like to.”

Schwartz explains that S &D has been a vRad teleradiology customer for two years; S &D was also an early adopter of the company’s Enterprise Connect platform, which vRad uses to manage and read over three million studies a year from over 1,200 facilities. Leveraging the platform will be critical to the operation of the New York Radiology Alliance, Schwartz says, and was a key reason for the merger.

“We could be providing more services to more clients if we had the ability to schedule and interact with our radiologists more efficiently,” he observes. “For both of these, we need more sophisticated IT capability than we currently have, and Virtual has demonstrated that their IT is far superior to anything else we’ve encountered. Tying into it will allow us to provide more services to a wider group of clients.”

Consolidation of imaging practices is a growing trend, and Schwartz says the new partnership between S &D and vRad is no exception to the rule. “The marketplace is moving very quickly in New York,” he notes. “We’re seeing an increase in faculty practice plans from the academic institutions and large health systems, and that has a pretty significant impact on radiology in our area. Partnered with vRad, we’re in a much better place to work alongside these large systems. As a smaller group, that would be more difficult.”

Schwartz has high hopes for the merger, which he says will bring the best of both practices together. “We think that the direction of radiology is to be able to provide faster, more efficient, quality service through the use of subspecialists,” he says. “This is what vRad has been doing for many years, largely by teleradiology, and we’ve been providing it largely by being on-site.

“We think we have a good formula for on-site radiology, and we know they’re the leaders in providing remote services,” he concludes. “The combination of our approaches should give us a product that will be able to answer anybody’s needs.”