Empowering Radiologists and the Future of Imaging with Jonathan Vaca of Convergent Imaging Solutions
Episode Topic: In this episode of Skeleton Crew – The Rad Tech Show, Jonathan Vaca from Convergent Imaging Solutions sheds light on the highlights and challenges of selling nuclear medicine workstation software in Canada. From regulatory nuances to unique customer demands, Jonathan provides valuable insights into the dynamic environment radiology professionals face. Additionally, he delves into the key benefits that Convergent Imaging Solutions brings to radiologists and how UniSyn™ Image Fusion enhances their workflow, offering a glimpse into the evolving landscape of medical imaging technology.
Lessons You’ll Learn:
In this episode, we will gain an understanding of the nuances and challenges associated with selling nuclear medicine workstation software in Canada. Additionally, they’ll learn about the transformative impact of UniSyn™ Image Fusion on radiologists’ workflows and its potential to shape the future of medical imaging.
About Our Guests: Jonathan Vaca, Account Executive at Convergent Imaging Solutions, brings a wealth of experience in navigating the complexities of the medical imaging industry. His role involves addressing the unique needs of Canadian healthcare providers, making him a valuable source of knowledge for our audience.
Topics Covered: Throughout this enlightening episode, Jonathan Vaca delves into a myriad of compelling topics. The conversation seamlessly transitions into the revolutionary capabilities of UniSyn™ Image Fusion, where Jonathan unravels how this technology facilitates the distribution and analysis of PET/CT SPECT/CT data across healthcare organizations, backed by success stories exemplifying enhanced patient care and diagnostic processes. The episode also unveils Convergent Imaging Solutions’ holistic approach to advancing healthcare through technology, emphasizing the amalgamation of functionalities, intuitiveness, and customizability.
Our Guest: Jonathan Vaca, Nuclear Medicine Solutions Specialist
Meet Jonathan Vaca, a seasoned professional with over three years of expertise as an Account Executive at Convergent Imaging Solutions. Specializing in selling PET/CT, SPECT/CT, PET/MRI, and Nuclear Medicine workstation software, Jonathan has successfully navigated the healthcare landscapes of both Canada and the USA.
His skills encompass the full spectrum of sales—from prospecting and negotiating to closing deals and account management. Jonathan’s proficiency extends beyond sales as he actively builds and sustains relationships with key decision-makers and stakeholders. At Convergent Imaging Solutions, he has played a pivotal role in the company’s growth and success, contributing by generating new business, elevating customer satisfaction, and delivering exceptional service and support.
Jonathan’s passion lies in empowering healthcare providers to enhance their diagnostic and therapeutic capabilities through innovative and dependable nuclear medicine solutions. His dedication to advancing medical imaging makes him a valuable guest, offering insights into the dynamic intersection of technology and healthcare.
Follow Convergent Imaging Solutions on
Jennifer Callahan: Hey, everybody. Welcome back to another episode of The Skeleton Crew. I’m your host, Jen Callahan, and tonight I have a guest joining me from Canada. His name is Jonathan Vaca, and he is an account executive at Convergent Imaging Solutions. Jonathan, thanks for taking the time to be with me tonight.
Jonathan Vaca: Thank you, Jen, for having me. Appreciate it so much.
Jennifer Callahan: First, I want to kind of break into what exactly is the company that you work for? What does Conversion imaging solutions do?
Jonathan Vaca: Sure. So like you said, I’m an account executive at Convergent Imaging Solutions. We’re based in Ottawa out of Canada, Ontario. And what we do, we specialize in we develop and provide PET/CT, SPECT/CT, PET/MRI and nuclear medicine workstation software. So the software that the techs use to analyze, distribute, store images in their departments, basically. And we do that in Canada, the US, of course, and as well as Australia and New Zealand, mainly in Canada and in the US is where I’m focused on. But we do do some stuff overseas as well. And yeah, don’t have a background in the medical field, in radiology or in sort of medicine. I specialize in, like I said, business sales, business development. And that is what I do here at conversion.
Jennifer Callahan: So does that make that difficult for you at all, that not having some type of medical or allied health background with selling this.
Jonathan Vaca: Yeah. I mean, I guess at the beginning it wasn’t as easy. It was kind of. Yeah, a little bit of a learning curve, just kind of learning about the software, what it does, broad strokes, kind of getting a gist for the terminology. Of course, a lot of big words in this field and a lot of technical stuff, you know, that didn’t go to school for. But as long as I have the, you know, the general gist of it and doing it every day and talking to radiologists and the different people in these hospitals, I’ve learned a lot and absorbed a lot in the conversations I’m having and the people that I’m dealing with on a daily basis. But yeah, I haven’t found it to be a hindrance at all. You know, I’m a quick learner. And again, it’s all about just painting the product in a good light and offering some value can provide value in that conversation. I’m having, you know, do you see value? Yes. No. That’s really what I’m trying to tell them. Yeah.
Jennifer Callahan: Yeah. I mean, I would assume that a company like that is making sure that you have a huge understanding of what is going on behind the scenes in terms of getting you to the understanding of what PET. And then you said PET MRI and PET CT. That’s great. So definitely probably enlightening for you. You know, lots of new stuff that you had learned joining the company.
Jonathan Vaca: Well, absolutely. It’s been a wealth of knowledge that I had no idea or even just looking back, it’s not something I would have ever thought I’d be doing, really. You know, when I get into sales and business development, who knows? I was getting into. But the medical field wasn’t one of them. You know, it wasn’t something I thought kind of thought looking forward. But it’s pretty awesome that I get to be a part of that, even in a specific niche event. But yeah, also have great leadership. You know, again, like you said, definitely they they have filled me with knowledge to be able to have these conversations and have good leadership. They didn’t just throw me to the wolves. And, you know, just talking to me, it’s very important and smart people without without teaching me some stuff first. So yeah, had some good role models as well, you know. Show me the ropes. Yeah.
Jennifer Callahan: All right. So you have a model right now that’s out there software wise called Unison Image fusion am I correct.
Jonathan Vaca: Yeah. Yeah. So that’s the name of our software. Yeah. Unison.
Jennifer Callahan: All right. Could you give us like a, like a base of what that does, what the benefits would be for a department.
Jonathan Vaca: Absolutely, absolutely. So yeah really any radiology department and then specifically nuclear medicine department, some of our best clients are people that for example, a lot of techs, when they’re doing their work, they are hindered to these workstations. They have to do all their work at workstations. And so unison is a thin client product, which means that it allows for remote capabilities and remote capabilities in multiple ways. Number one, you know, our product, we don’t have to install something physical in these departments. Everything can really be done. Plug and play, connect to their servers, and we can basically do anything, everything remotely. You know, we don’t have to install computers or servers or big physical, anything physical really, everything is remote. And then as well, one of the main features is that the techs themselves, they can open up their laptops at home, anywhere really outside of the hospital, and they can be take a quick look at their images. If they need to send images, they can do that from anywhere so they can, you know, read images, send images. Pretty much they can access their software and their workstation remotely anywhere. And so that’s huge. Not saying that, you know, a lot of hospitals will have that capability, but a lot of them actually don’t, you know, a lot of them have the same workstation that they’ve had for 20, 25 years. And a lot of people like using that. But then new people are coming in and say, we don’t want to use this thing that’s been around for 20, 25 years, and that’s where we come in. We can offer some remote capabilities. That’s one our products also highly customizable to the techs themselves. So the techs that are using it, you know, they can really get personal, kind of customize the settings. Techs are different. Some like to view things this way. I like different colors. I mean even even as rudimentary as that, colors and things like that. And they can really get customized, make it personal to them. We have good feedback on that. They have a little sense of personality even in that sense. Yeah.
Jennifer Callahan: So would you say is this workstation software, is it geared more towards technologists or is it geared more towards radiologists or for boats?
Jonathan Vaca: Yeah. So it really is at the end of the day, the texts that are are using it. So the boots on the ground, even the directors, when I’m speaking to the directors, the decision makers. Right. Sometimes they might be, you know, in a corporate office or they might be someone that just manages a department. They might not have been actually doing the work for the last ten years. They have, you know, they have advanced to a higher title. And so, yeah, they even when want to book demos, they say, oh, I want to get some of my texts in and to, you know, see the software. And because they’re the ones that are going to be using it. And so I want them, I want them to check it out and see if it’s something that, that they like as well. Right. So really it is the people boots on the ground that are going to be using the software that are really going to even as much as the director likes or doesn’t like it, they’re going to be the ones that are saying, yeah, we want this software or we don’t want the software.
Jennifer Callahan: So is it kind of like the PAC system? Is that along the same lines, when you’re talking about workstations?
Jonathan Vaca: Totally, totally. So the PACs department, they’d be the ones that would handle all the internal, you know, infrastructure, I.T stuff. So our software would plug into a PACs and modality into a PACs. And yeah, it would, it would plug into their current PAC system with what they’re using, and it would be integrated right into that. And that’s why any system that a hospital or an imaging center is already using, we can pretty much plug and play into their PACs and work remotely from there. Yeah, absolutely. I’m dealing with a lot of different hospital hospital I’m dealing with, like I said, the director of radiology, and sometimes I’m doing a demo. It might be the director of radiology and director of nuclear medicine and the head of the PACs team all in one. And some of the techs kind of all in a room together or on zoom together and taking a look at the software, because it’s kind of a sometimes it’s one person, you know, sometimes it’s six, seven people, a group decision. It really depends on the hospital, how they do things. But yeah, so PACs would definitely be involved a lot of the times too. Yeah, for sure.
Jennifer Callahan: But unison kind of specifically is geared towards nuke med.
Jonathan Vaca: Yeah, I would say our specialty is probably nuke med or some of our best features really stand out in Nuclear med. Yeah, I think so. I think so, yeah.
Jennifer Callahan: So would you do the PACs portion of it for nuclear medicine and like all the other modalities of radiology, say pretty much in Canada?
Jonathan Vaca: Yeah, we can go all the way, break it down to even X-ray. Simple MRI, simple like that. Yeah. Our product would definitely be able to handle that for sure. All the way from MRI, all the way up to nuclear med. Yeah. We complete processing. Yeah. Storage sending.
Jennifer Callahan: So what is it about the software that basically benefits nuclear medicine so much. And the imaging portion of it.
Jonathan Vaca: The remote capabilities. Like I said that again it’s great to be remote and it’s awesome. It makes the lives of the techs easier. But at the end of the day, what we’re going for is efficiency and just even just the workplace environment. You know, the text, you know, because they can quickly open up their laptop and view something instead of having to go to the hospital or wait till the next day or till the next shift, or pulling someone there, they can just simply do it there, send it somewhere and close your laptop and get on with what they’re doing. Efficiency. We’ve seen efficiency kind of, you know, as one of the main feedbacks techs. They’re happier a little bit making things a little bit more seamless, I guess. You know, they don’t have to be at a certain place to be doing the work. So that just creates a better environment for them. You know, they’re a little bit happier themselves and they’re a little more free to kind of be away from their workstation. I would say our software as well, we’re because we’re remote, we can do updates remotely at any time.
Jonathan Vaca: Our software is not a set it and forget it. You know, a lot of these softwares, you know, it comes with the equipment or someone might install it and then you’re not getting updates. It kind of gets outdated after a few years. Ours is kind of ever evolving. Our software development team is on 24/7 if there’s any issues. And also we take feedback from the techs themselves. We have any complaints or they say, oh, I wish we could do that. I’m not saying we’re going to be able to add every single thing or, or, you know, take in every complaint. But we can really try and to kind of take in their feedback and improve the software and gear it towards what we’re hearing from the techs themselves. Because like I said, they’re the the most important part of this, right? The people using it, it’s one of my favorite things about it. We kind of give them that autonomy to make some changes or even just give some feedback that they might actually see in the field in the future. Yeah.
Jennifer Callahan: So you were saying how it’s kind of used more or like kind of geared specifically towards nuclear medicine. And you had mentioned PET MRI and PET CT. What is this specifically about the functional ality of it kind of is best for those types of modalities?
Jonathan Vaca: I would say like image fusion. That’s huge for us. Image fusion, you know, let’s say an image that was taken five years ago, we can pull it up from that, from the PAC system with our software, and then we can take a current image, for example, complete image fusion, overlaying images, complete very sensitive opacity, a different color schemes. If you’re looking at, you know, radiology images, you’ll know what I’m talking about in terms of overlaying images, kind of comparison of your to your PET scan to your MRI. You can do a complete image overlay as many as you want. It’s really cool. And that’s kind of some of the cutting edge stuff that we’ve done. I’ve talked to these directors and they’re like, wow, that’s stuff that maybe our software doesn’t have. Things like image fusion, complete comparison, and even new things. Like I said, we’re ever evolving. We’re trying to keep up. We want to lead the industry. So we have things like AI, auto segmentation. I know we just had the RSA conference, the Radiology Society of North America conference, some of my. Co-workers were there demonstrating our product, and they had a lot of presentations. You know, I is of course huge and everything everywhere.
Jennifer Callahan: Everywhere.
Jonathan Vaca: We have not escaped that in nuclear medicine and radiology either. You know, that’s coming. So we are always implementing things like that that are brand new and that are evolving right before us. And like I said, we definitely want to fall behind. We don’t want to just keep up. We want to really stay ahead of the game. So that’s why we are always adding new things. And in Nuclear Med, it’s everything. I mean, the thyroid uptake, I mean, like I said, not to get too technical, but it really is a complete product. And like I said, nuclear medicine is our bread and butter. That’s where we can come in. Whether you’re a new department that’s just starting a nuclear medicine division or an old department looking to replace things, we can really kind of like I said, plug and play. It’s pretty seamless. It’s not a huge overhaul undertaking at the hospital that they have to do. We really just kind of connect to the server remotely and get things going, and they can set up as they wish. It’s very customizable too. They love that and they can set it up to their department to what their, you know, how they want to do things. Because like I said, it’s very, very different dealing with people in different hospitals and the way they do things even in the same departments. Right. So the customizability and the flexibility that our software offers them, they really love it.
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Jennifer Callahan: What kind of feedback do you receive with feedback? Any challenges that you’ve gotten from them in terms of it? And then maybe are you taking this feedback good or bad? Obviously in reporting it.
Jonathan Vaca: Of course, of course. So a success story like I’d love to share is, you know, we have we’re over at Lenox Hill in New York. It’s like a popular name of Lenox Hill. You know, the show and everything. So when I say, oh, yeah, we have our software in Lenox. We’re like, oh, wow. That’s awesome. Yeah, it’s a big, huge hospital and has a very popular name. So that’s pretty cool. And you know, again, what they’ve told us their efficiency, having images being able to be analyzed, sent, received remotely, just increasing, you know, turnaround time for patients, getting their images done, getting results back, having them seen by someone that needs to see it. And as well as, yeah, the text that overall tech just enjoyment of their workplace and they don’t have to be stuck in the hospital you know, stay late. We need to check out these images at six you know stay late. No. You can go home, log into the virtual workstation and do it at home or do whatever you need to do it. So that’s kind of what we’re we’re seeing, just kind of streamlining the process a little bit, taking away some of the bumps and just make it a little smoother for the techs there when managing in department, because it allows for a little bit more of a seamless workflow for people.
Jonathan Vaca: And that’s great, and I love it. I love helping them and getting the feedback from them when they say, I’ve made the job a little easier and that’s awesome. That’s what we love to hear. I would say in terms of, you know, negative feedback, maybe sometimes it’s not a good fit. They’re like, you know, this product does a little bit too much for, you know, really, we don’t need this much stuff. We only do like ten nuclear medicine evaluations in a month. This is a little too much. We’re kind of good with our software. It does what we need. That’s great. You know, we don’t want, you know, you don’t need it. That’s fine. You know? But we ran into that. Some smaller hospitals at nuclear medicine is something that they don’t do as much on a daily basis.
Jennifer Callahan: We were talking earlier before we started recording, and Jonathan was telling me that when they go out to, I guess, potential new clients, he said that it is a possibility for them to road test software, see if they it’s a good fit for them. So we want to touch upon a little bit about that.
Jonathan Vaca: Totally, totally. So usually when I’ve seen when people want to test things out, it’s usually a bigger facility. A lot of times what I’m seeing more and more too, I’m not just dealing with one facility. I’m dealing with, like a health network, a network that might run seven, ten, 20 hospitals, you know, huge corporate conglomerates that, you know, manage and supply to many hospitals, right? Or in Canada, for example, provincial stuff, you know, Alberta Health Services instead of a specific hospital. I’m dealing with the provincial health system, health network, right. Someone like that, that they’re going to be providing our software to, let’s say, 20 different sites, right. They might want to do a little bit of testing, make sure everything’s running smooth. Can you handle the 20 sites, set up the infrastructure to they called virtual clusters where like the set up where the packs or everything will go from all the sites into one. Right. And just setting that up is going to be a little bit longer than if it’s just one hospital. And like I said, we don’t want to set this all up. And then they buy everything and figure out it’s not a good fit. No, we’d rather figure out if it’s a good fit at the beginning, get it going, and then they can become, you know, we can become long term business partners instead of, you know, doing all of that and all of a sudden it’s not a good fit and kind of wasting both of our time. You’d rather figure that out at the beginning. They can test it out. You know, it doesn’t really cost anything for them to test it out. And it kind of just kind of weeds out all the problems at the beginning if it’s going to be a good fit or not. Yeah. Yeah.
Jennifer Callahan: So it obviously aids in good workflow, like you were saying. How would you say that this type of workstation improves patient care.
Jonathan Vaca: So I mean as I mentioned before, turnaround time really like when you’re going to get to get your image that time to really what’s holding up when you get your image done and the time it takes for you to get your results back is someone needs to, of course, see the images and then send it back to maybe your your general practitioner, your doctor, your family doctor or something like that. And so that turnaround time really is how quickly are one of these texts and doctors going to see that those images and be able to do their image fusion with our software and do their all of their scanning and their image overlays and all that, and then get that back to the patient. So really, if our techs and our doctors are able to kind of send each other things seamlessly open up and do analysis on the go and quickly review it, send it over good, we’re good to go instead of having to wait, like I said, a whole nother business day or till their next shift, or asking someone else at the hospital to do it. Yeah, really patient or you know, and then overall, just the patient satisfaction workflow in the hospital in general, people come in, in and out waiting phone lines. Again, just patient turnaround time. The techs, they’re happy makes things easier for them. The patients they’re happy. They’re getting great image quality service. We hope our software is doing a little better than the old software and image quality. Not just speed and efficiency, but of course the image quality and being able to use things that we’re looking for as efficiently and as accurately as possible. But yeah, really, again, just patients getting their results back quicker is that’s. It’s huge. We love to hear that from the department chair.
Jennifer Callahan: Talking about the image fusion, I’m sure it’s extremely helpful for the radiologists. You know that you say that it kind of overlays a previous image on the current instead of sitting there, instead of a radiologist having to sit there and be looking back and forth from two different images to say if it’s a follow up scan, having to look at two separate images, now it’s just right on top of each other. So I’m sure it aids the radiologist in having to toggle back and forth between something I feel like can be a little mentally exhausting.
Jonathan Vaca: Like you said, even six months, you know, six years, you can overlay an image that’s stored in that system. Years and years, it can be someone’s images from a long time ago and a completely different type of image. You can have your, you know, your MRI and you can not even the same image. You can overlay those move different markers to see what we’re looking for. And that’s really the basis of our software image fusion image overlay. That’s really our bread and butter. And that’s what these departments like to see that.
Jennifer Callahan: Yeah. Are there any other software that convergent offers or is that kind of the main stand point at this point, the unison.
Jonathan Vaca: So we do have a couple other integrations that are available that people actually might be familiar with. The first one is the Cedars-Sinai cardiac suite. That one’s dealing with, of course, cardiology full cardiac suite, a whole separate sort of system dedicated to cardiology and what they might need. And then we also have the center med neuro. So that one’s all geared towards neurology. One other plug in that works seamlessly integrated to our software. So Cedars-Sinai and Center Med Cardiac and Neurology is also can be added right onto our software and work seamlessly. And yeah, those are great. Those are those are just the third party integrations that allow for just a little extra. If you have a department that focuses a lot on cardiology or cardiology department, specifically in radiology, you might want to get the Cedars-Sinai suite because that provides a whole separate set of customizations and different modalities for them specifically. So we have those two that are available and actually those get great feedback.
Jennifer Callahan: So you guys have a slew of good things going on there over there and convergent. Is there anything on the future that you might possibly be able to share with the public?
Jonathan Vaca: Yeah. We’re always trying to say not just maintain and compete. We want to we want to be leading the industry and saying staying on top of the competition. So yeah, I would say the main things would be, of course, AI integration, AI based auto segmentation. That’s kind of one thing we’re focusing on.
Jennifer Callahan: What’s auto segmentation.
Jonathan Vaca: So just some of these little things that are repetitive for text kind of just to be done automatically. Instead of having to click certain buttons, slide things over, just complete or not complete, but a little bit more control just based on the software doing things that are a little bit redundant or repetitive, that are built into the software so that they don’t have to do it themselves. And then we also have dosimetry. And so those are the two things really. And again, we’re always adding feedback. We’re always taking feedback from our clients our current customers. What are they seeing. Something that they want maybe to be tweaked a little bit. Maybe they have an idea and they want to share it with us. And now we’re saying that we’re going to be able to implement everything. But we love feedback because like I said, we are not a set it and forget it software. You’re ever evolving and the most important feedback is feedback from the techs because they’re the ones using it. So we feel that empowers them to they feel a little bit like they have a little more control, a little bit more autonomy, and being able to give feedback, right, that that will actually make it to, to us. And we hope to make changes to everything that all the feedback we get. But we try our best.
Jennifer Callahan: So are these software updates then, or is it something almost like something that happens automatically, almost like, say like an iPhone? Like you get a notification, like new update is available, update your software. Is it something along the same lines or is that too simple?
Jonathan Vaca: No, I mean, it’s really it’s not it’s it’s just kind of quite that simple. We would probably let them know what really pop up on the system, but we would just let them know, hey, you know, there’s some new stuff that we’ve added, we’ve been working on. Maybe some of the feedback you guys gave us or some other hospital gave us that we want to add, and we just want to do a quick system update and it wouldn’t take too long. And yeah, it’ll be remote again. They wouldn’t have to do anything.
Jennifer Callahan: Is that what you would consider like a downtime?
Jonathan Vaca: It’s a timeline lines up with that. They’re to have lined up like a downtime then. Yeah, it’d be much easier for us to do it during the downtime. It also depends on the size of the hospital or the network that we’re doing it on. If it’s just one department in one hospital, it won’t take too long. You wouldn’t be noticeable. The downtime really. Like I don’t think we would need to, but if it’s going to be at a facility that’s, you know, managing 20 sites and we’re updating it, we’re definitely probably be good to put it during that downtime. And yeah, it’ll take a little bit longer. Right? The facility size does definitely matter. Even just orchestrating it all at the same time. Yeah, definitely. During those down times it just makes it easier if especially we can just line it up during those times for sure.
Jennifer Callahan: All right. Well great information going on there. Anybody who’s listening here in the market for software for nuclear medicine obviously reach out to convergent imaging solutions. Jonathan I feel like you sold me on it. So if I had nuclear medicine in my house, I’d have you guys come to my workstation.
Jonathan Vaca: Perfect. I would love that. And yeah, anyone in sales, you know, just being in the medical field, he’s awesome. It’s it’s not easy. It’s not the easiest sales job you’ll have, but it is pretty rewarding. The people I’m talking to are really pretty cool and they’re doing pretty cool stuff, and it’s pretty boring. I like to be part of this cool thing. I’m not doing any of the work myself. You know, the nurses, the techs, and they’re doing the awesome helping. But it’s cool that I get to be a part of the process in some way at least.
Jennifer Callahan: Well, this is Jonathan Vaca joining me from the account executive, joining me from Convergent Imaging Solutions. I want to thank everybody for being with us this evening. Make sure you check us out on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, check out future episodes and then past episodes. There’s lots of good ones from the past and can’t wait to listen in on ours. Jonathan.
Jonathan Vaca: So thank you for having me. Jen. Thank you for having me. Check out our website. And yeah, listen to all the episodes of the show for sure.
Jennifer Callahan: Thanks, Jonathan. All right guys, we’ll see you later.
Jennifer Callahan: You’ve been watching the Skeleton Crew, brought to you by X-raytechnicianSchools.com. On the next episode, join us to explore the present and the future of the Rad Tech career in the field of radiology.