Box buys medical image viewing vendor to boost vertical industry push

MedXT specializes in technology that aligns with Box's health-care aims

Box has acquired a medical image viewing startup as part of its strategy to beef up its cloud storage and document management capabilities for health-care companies.

MedXT specializes in "medical image viewing, sharing and collaboration," so its technology is aligned with Box's intention to help make health-care data more easily accessible to doctors and patients, according to Box CEO Aaron Levie.

"Together with MedXT, we will pursue the vision for a healthcare system where physicians have instant access to critical medical procedures and data from tablets; patients can obtain their personal medical records and information without friction; and institutions can share healthcare outcomes and data across organizations, securely," Levie wrote in a blog post Thursday.

Box recently announced a strategy to differentiate itself from competitors in part by deepening its expertise on a dozen vertical industries, starting with media and entertainment, retail and health care. The initiative, called Box for Industries, will include Box technologies, vertical industry-specific applications from other vendors, and implementation services from Box and partners.

Box for Industries ties in with another company effort -- to evolve its business beyond the now commoditized cloud storage and file share market, and into a provider of document, content and workflow management software that leverages the cloud and mobile devices for better, more flexible workplace collaboration.

These plans to tackle big, complex problems sound admirably ambitious, but the question is whether Box will try to bite off more than it can chew. In the area of health care in particular, none other than the mighty Google tackled the problem of data access and exchange with its Google Health initiative, but eventually walked away in defeat, having accomplished little.

At least Levie seems aware that a tough road lies ahead.

"Of course, we can't do this alone. While the core Box product will continue to address a broad range of horizontal use cases, it's our platform and ecosystem that will support all-new capabilities for industries," he wrote. "As such, we will rely heavily on a vast number of strategic partners and a developer ecosystem to enable robust enterprise workflows, improved data capture and unique experiences for our customers."

Box expects to close the MedXT acquisition in early November. The company's two employees -- founders Reshma Khilnani and Cody Ebberson -- will join Box.

MedXT describes its product as a radiology information system (RIS) and picture archiving and communications system (PAC) that is cloud-based, has a browser-based viewer, interfaces with Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) systems, and offers reporting, scheduling, workflow and billing capabilities.

"Medical images have long been siloed from other clinical systems that house medical records and tests, largely due to the complex imaging equipment used to capture them. Reshma and Cody both recognized the opportunity to securely bridge the gap between the equipment that radiologists and technicians are using to capture data, and the people they ultimately need to share that data with," Levie wrote, adding that MedXT's technology renders "beautiful, shareable previews of DICOM files in the cloud" while also supporting annotations.

MedXT customers include MedLife Diagnostics, Critical Medical Solutions and Capstone.

Asked whether Box will continue to sell the MedXT products and support existing customers, a Box spokesman said via email: "Yes, we'll be working to incorporate MedXT's DICOM Viewer into the core Box service. We will share more details as we lock down the roadmap and timing."

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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