In the News

March 17, 2006

Metro Imaging Invests $600,000 to Put Scans on Web

St. Louis Business Journal

by Julia M. Johnson

Metro Imaging, which operates five medical imaging centers in St. Louis, invested $600,000 in new technology that will give area doctors and patients faster access to diagnostic images.

Chris Keefe, Metro's chief financial officer, said its new system consists of special software and a Web portal. The software, Fusion RIS/PACS, is produced by Milwaukee-based Merge eMed. Patients' MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), CT (computed tomography) and ultrasound images can be posted, viewed and compared via the secure Web portal.

"The images are available to doctors as soon as the tests are complete," Keefe said. Physicians can look at a patient's images anytime, wherever they have high-speed internet access.

Radiologist Dr. Harley Hammerman, founder and chief executive of Metro Imaging, said the new technology eliminates the transfer of hard copies of images between doctors' offices.

The system also allows more than one doctor to consult on a patient's case simultaneously from multiple locations. Keefe said soon doctors will have monitors in their exam rooms so they can review diagnostic images directly with patients. About 150 physicians, most of them in private practice, already are using Metro Imaging's new system. Keefe said she hopes to have 500 more on line by the end of 2006.

The company tested the system in November and December, and rolled it out this year. Metro Imaging is Merge's only Fusion RIS/PACS system client in St. Louis. But Merge has similar systems in place in 500 other facilities across the country, said Beth Frost-Johnson, Merge's senior vice president of marketing. "About 30 percent of the marketplace has gone digital. This is still relatively new. But as health-care reimbursements decline, hospitals and imaging centers have to become more productive."

Metro Imaging is owned by a group of local radiologists: Hammerman, Gene Spector, Edward Cohen, Philip Trotta, E.C. Cabal, Albert Hammerman (brother of Harley), Sidney Machefsky, Mark Hoffman, Richard Koch, Lewis Halverson, Rajeshwar Luther and Jonathan Root. Trotta and Luther are the physicians on-site at the South County office; Harley Hammerman and Hoffman are at West County; Koch, North County; Dr. Ian Graham, St. Peters; and Albert Hammerman, Richmond Heights.

Harley Hammerman started the company in 1994. It now has annual revenue of $30 million.

Our Patients Tell Our Story Best

I am going to contact my physician and tell him to start referring patients to Metro. Since many people now have high deductibles, the cost for my exam was 1/3 the cost of just the technical component at the hospital. And I was offered a 40% discount if I paid at the point of service. I also didn't have the issue of parking and waiting like I have experienced in the past with hospital based radiology departments.

- West County Patient

I could not have had a better experience today. I came in to your center extremely nervous, and your staff made me feel like family before I left. This was such a pleasant experience; I have already told a dozen of my co-workers to visit your location if they ever need your services.

- South County Patient

I only go to Metro Imaging, even when the doctor wants me to go to his or her radiology department. Onsite results plus VIP service are prime reasons why I always come to Metro imaging for my radiology tests.

- North County Patient

I had been having my mammograms at a hospital for 20 yrs & decided to go to your facility this time since you are doing 3D at no additional cost to the patient. I am so glad I chose Metro Imaging.

- St. Peters Patient

It was a great experience. I was there for a routine x-ray and didn't have an appointment. I was only there about 35 minutes, what a pleasant alternative to going to the hospital for an x-ray, not to mention the cost savings! I will always choose Metro Imaging over the hospital.

- Richmond Heights Patient

Metro does an EXCELLENT job. I will never return to the hospital-based system again. I recommend Metro to all of my friends.

- St. Peters Patient

I have been in medicine for over 20 years and I have never seen or used a better facility. Efficient, professional, courteous, lower cost – better than any hospital I have seen, and I have used all in the County area as a patient and physician. I have sent my patients to several facilities, outpatient and hospital, nothing better. So all in all, Metro is the best in town for certain.

- West County Patient

OnSite Results eliminates what could be days of uncertainty while waiting for a follow-up from a physician. I received my results within minutes of finishing the exam.

- Richmond Heights Patient

Metro Imaging provides professional diagnostic imaging services in a convenient, service-oriented setting. Metro Imaging has been the model for outpatient imaging in the greater St. Louis area since 1994. Our five locations feature state-of-the-art technology, a friendly and caring staff, easy parking and a warm, upscale environment. With our exclusive OnSite Results, the choice is yours and the results are now.