Sramana Mitra: Moving big images is no big deal.
Abraham Gutman: I said, “I won’t compress images. Who cares about compressing? There’s a lot of capacity in the ground already. Tell me how big a pipe I need and I’ll just make or lease a pipe. I can move truck loads of images very fast and efficiently.” Now I had a solution for the problem but I was wondering if the problem that he had suggested was a real problem. So I got in my car and started going to little hospitals in the New England area. I had meetings with whoever the president was. I asked them if they had a radiology problem. They all thought it was a trick question. They said, “We don’t have a radiologist and it’s a big problem. We have a guy that comes twice a week. He’s 80 years old.”
I said,“Imagine that there was this network. It doesn’t exist today but imagine for a second there was this network. On this network, you would have the best radiologist in the world. These are people from John Hopkins and Harvard Hospitals. You could also be in this network. Each time you have images, you could send your musculoskeletal images to the best musculoskeletal guy. You could in fact create a virtual world-class radiology department. Would you be interested in that?” They all said exactly the same thing, “If you had it today, we’ll buy it today.”
I had my idea for a company. I am going to arbitrage radiology. There was reading capacity. It was not that there was a shortage of radiologists. It’s that the radiologists that had the time to read were not where the materials were. Think of it as the eBay of radiology. The first thing I knew I needed was to create a network. There was plenty of fiber on the ground. I also needed a way to be able to move these images in and out of hospitals without having to change the workflow inside the hospitals. That’s one thing that I learned pretty early on. I have to say that IT in hospitals is very unenlightened. That’s the most polite way to say it.
Sramana Mitra: Especially in remote hospitals.
Abraham Gutman: There’s one way to ensure privacy—by being on an island and blowing up the bridges. Nobody can get in. Nobody can get out. It was very important to be able to build something that would allow these images to go in and out of the hospital with minimal or no intervention from IT in those hospitals. That was very critical. Also, it was critical that the radiology departments didn’t have to learn some new method of doing something that they were doing internally. These images were moving from one part of the hospital to another. I built this network and this functionality that effectively allowed us to go in and out of the hospitals without changing those workflows. Then I began to sell it.