The Future of Imaging, an Exclusive Conversation With Morris Panner of Intelerad
Episode Topic: In this episode of Skeleton Crew – The Rad Tech Show, we explore the future of imaging with Morris Panner, the President of Intelerad, to discuss the company’s significant role in the healthcare imaging landscape. The conversation covers the core components of Intelerad’s offerings, including their PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication System), industry-leading worklists, image exchange solutions, and cardiac imaging products. The episode delves into the importance of enterprise imaging and how Intelerad aims to streamline the workflow in radiology and cardiology departments.
Lessons You’ll Learn: Listeners gain insights into the challenges and solutions within healthcare imaging workflows. Morris Panner sheds light on the significance of enterprise imaging, the concept of “Ditch the Disc,” and the role of technology in facilitating collaboration among healthcare providers. The episode emphasizes the transition from traditional methods to digital platforms, enabling smoother information sharing and improved patient outcomes.
About Our Guests: Morris Panner, President of Intelerad, is a leading figure in healthcare technology. With a background marked by the acquisition of his own company, he now guides Intelerad’s innovative solutions in medical imaging. Panner’s impact extends globally, with the company’s presence in the UK and Australia, showcasing his commitment to advancing healthcare on an international scale. His leadership exemplifies the fusion of clinical expertise and digital innovation, making Morris Panner a driving force in shaping positive change within healthcare technology.
Topics Covered: The episode touches on various topics, including the core offerings of Intelerad, the importance of seamless collaboration in healthcare, and the company’s global presence. The conversation takes an unexpected turn as Panner shares insights into career transitions within the healthcare technology sector, illustrating how individuals with clinical backgrounds can contribute to companies like Intelerad. The discussion underscores the global nature of healthcare practices and the value of international collaboration in advancing medical technology.
Our Guest: Morris Panner – Shaping the Future of Healthcare Imaging
Morris Panner, the President of Intelerad, is a trailblazer in healthcare technology, driving innovation for global health improvement. Formerly the CEO of Ambra Health, Morris’s diverse background includes leadership roles in enterprise software and legal advisory positions.
As a Director at NextGen Healthcare, Morris played a pivotal role on the board, contributing to a successful proxy fight defense and a premium exit to Thoma Bravo in 2023. His membership in the Forbes Technology Council reflects his influence on technology and innovation, particularly in healthcare transformation.
Morris’s impactful tenure as Ambra Health’s CEO showcased his commitment to advancing medical imaging management. Following the acquisition by Intelerad in 2021, Morris assumed the role of President, leading technology innovation for improved global healthcare.
His strategic contributions extended to Unanet’s board of directors, influencing growth and securing strategic investment. At GroupFlier and NetSuite, Morris’s leadership marked significant growth and successful exits. Early in his career, Morris held key roles in the U.S. Department of Justice, coordinating international narcotics policy.
Morris’s academic credentials include a Bachelor’s degree from Yale University and a J.D. from Harvard University. His journey reflects a fusion of legal expertise, entrepreneurship, and leadership in healthcare technology, making Morris Panner a driving force in shaping the future of healthcare.
Morris Panner: Interestingly enough, some of our technology innovations really took root in Australia because Australia is a very big country characterised by large, inaccessible parts, but there are still people who need to be reached, and so you need a very agile system to be able to serve sometimes a population that doesn’t have great bandwidth access. And so some of the innovations we worked on were to make what we call teleradiology the telemedicine piece. And that really works well for populations that can’t necessarily be in a big urban area where maybe the bandwidth and other pieces are more developed. So as a consequence, we became a very important part of the Australian healthcare scene.
Jennifer Callahan: Welcome to the Skeleton Crew. I’m your host, Jen Callahan, a technologist with ten-plus years experience. In each episode, we will explore the fast-paced, ever-changing, and suburbs completely crazy field of radiology. We will speak to technologists from all different modalities about their careers and education, the educators and leaders who are shaping the field today, and the business executives whose innovations are paving the future of radiology. This episode is brought to you by x-raytechnicianschools.com. If you’re considering a career in X-ray, visit x-raytechnicianschools.com to explore schools and to get honest information on career paths, salaries, and degree options. Hey, everybody, welcome back to another episode of The Skeleton Crew. This is Jen Callahan. I’m here today with Morris Panner. He’s the president of Intelerad. I’m so happy that he’s taking the time to meet with me on this chilly Philadelphia day where I am. Maurice, thanks for being with me.
Morris Panner: Thanks, Jan. It’s a little chilly here as well. I’m outside of Washington, DC, so we’re about two hours apart by train, but it’s similar climate.
Jennifer Callahan: Morris, could you just give us a brief overview of the Intelerad company? Yeah.
Morris Panner: First and foremost, for all of you out there, we are a Pax company that has an industry-leading work list, as well as an image exchange solution and a series of cardiac imaging products as well. So we are core to the day-to-day workflow of Rad group’s imaging centers and then hospitals. And we just announced a $50 million hospital win. So we are feeling like we are getting some real momentum at our backs. So it’s a good time to be on.
Jennifer Callahan: That’s awesome. Your company is about 20 years old. I was looking at your website, right? Yeah. Were you the startup behind it?
Morris Panner: We are a classic what’s called a PE-backed company. And there’s all sorts of interesting commentary these days about private equity and health care. But we were started. We’re a couple of companies coming together. So I joined this company about two years ago when they acquired my company, which provides that image exchange capability inside of the suite. But the original platform and Intelerad were started by Mcgill. And it was one of the early innovators in this space and has grown from there. So a really fun story with some international routes.
Jennifer Callahan: So what would you say the bread and butter of Intelerad is? Is it the image exchange or is it the workflow?
Morris Panner: It’s really the PACs, the workflow and image exchange and store it. Well, everything I said actually is what we consider to be our core and it all comes together nicely. I know there’s been a lot of talk about enterprise imaging. That’s what we do is we provide that enterprise imaging platform with those components in it.
Jennifer Callahan: Okay, dumb that down for me for a second. What exactly is enterprise imaging?
Morris Panner: Sure. So it’s the complete workflow as something comes off the modality. You need a way to route that to the right people to look at. They need to be able to visualize it. They need to be able to then report on it. They need to be able to share it with others, and then they need to be able to enable storage of that. And then from there, you’ve got your platform.
Jennifer Callahan: Now would that also to aid in I guess say so the area that I live in, there’s probably three major health systems. Would that aid in the health system sharing imaging amongst each other instead of patients having to go to the hospital, pick up a disk, and then bring it to where else they’re going 100%?
Morris Panner: Yes, 100%. So one of our big initiatives is called “Ditch the Disk”, something started out by the American College of Radiology and Doctor Geraldine McGinty and we have adopted that wholeheartedly. And although we’re not in the room where I have them on the wall, I at one point put all the CDs on a wall to show how obsolete that technology is. And we are all about enabling that type of sharing and interoperability.
Jennifer Callahan: I think it’s important for, as this continues to development, that for providers and offices to share with patients that this is a capability. I was in my department today working, and I feel like patients are so inane to just ask for, can I have my desk? Can you put that on a desk for me? And they’re taking the disk to have it for, I hate to say no particular reason just to have it just in case, which I guess isn’t a bad thing. But like you said, you’re holding on to all these disks and then what?
Morris Panner: So moving to digital, making sure the patient has access is core to our mission. And part of what makes our system, we believe a nice platform is that it gives both the doctor as well as the patient access, and they can share it. They can collaborate on it. And that is really the essence of being able to get other opinions, or just being able to make sure your health record follows you as you need it to.
Jennifer Callahan: So the health system that I work for, they use the epic charting system. I think that probably the majority of the health systems that are in this area, I think, use that. So it’s great that they call it care everywhere that’s on there that doctors from this health system can look at information from the other health system that the patient might have possibly not chosen to get treated at. But maybe it was an emergency situation that they had to go to. But like you said, being able to access your information.
Morris Panner: One of the nice things is we integrate into that system. So in some areas. So New York City, for example, if you’re in one of the major health systems there, it will pop up in your Care Everywhere application and you can look at it. Interoperability with other systems is also important. Part of what we do, including epic.
Jennifer Callahan: Is that a newer development, doing care everywhere, integrating with other systems, is that a nowhere concept?
Morris Panner: Yeah it is. And some of that’s been driven by some of the ongoing regulation which requires people to have access to their health records. It’s a little different for imaging. So it’s not as smooth yet for imaging. But certainly one of the drivers of making information more accessible has been federal regulation around it. So the fact that you’re seeing it and feel like it’s a different than it was, you’re right. It is.
Jennifer Callahan: That’s interesting that there’s a federal regulation behind it.
Morris Panner: Yeah, it’s an important part of the 21st Century Cures Act that is enabling more access to information, really trying to empower the patient.
Jennifer Callahan: We were talking before we started recording everyone that Mars had a great idea to share, or for us to discuss about how someone like myself who works in healthcare, I’ve been in the field now for over ten years. How do you actually transition from going from the clinical aspect of working in a hospital or out at patient center or surgical center, and how do you actually integrate yourself into a company such as this? So we’re going to switch roles, and instead of talking about in Intelerad itself, he’s going to give an overview of that.
Morris Panner: I have to say just at the outset, our company has so many talented clinicians like yourself who did that transition. I have a very topical anecdote. Our newest vice president in our company is a woman named Tara Marcus. And she just took over our cardiac imaging division. What’s nice about this story is she was involved in cardiac imaging as a clinician, and one day she heard over the hospital speaker that there was a session for training on this new system called in Intelerad. And she said to herself, you know what? I’m going to work for that company someday. Because if this hospital, which is so good is adopting this system, I want to learn that. And lo and behold, a number of years later, she found her way to the company. And we are always looking for that combination of clinical expertise and willingness to immerse yourself on the business side. She started out doing a variety of different things inside the company, and now, a number of years later, has just been promoted to vice president to run that division. But it all started with that simple desire of, hey, I’m interested, I’ve heard about this and I want to get involved. Is it possible? It’s super possible. And I love her example because I think it’s inspiring to people who are like, hey, maybe someday I would like to be in management at one of these companies as well.
Jennifer Callahan: For myself, and I shouldn’t say for other people. For me, sometimes I think about companies such as yours and think to myself, well, I’m an x ray technologist and I went to school for radiography. But in terms of technology and I don’t have a computer technology background. So you think that it’s not really something that you can get into, which is obviously not the case at all.
Morris Panner: Here’s the dirty secret about technology. Technology, oddly, has very little in the business side. This is going to sound terrible, and I’m going to get a lot of emails from software developers. We call them, I call our technology business really a people business. And if you want to be successful in technology, the thing that you need to know workflow is the most important thing and you take it for granted. But the industry insight and knowledge of the pressures and requirements that you have accumulated are extremely valuable. The empathy that you have for how somebody would use our product extremely valuable. So we have a lot of people who transition into our company in different roles, and I’ll quickly give you the different areas. Let’s just say we’re going to do your application right now. You could think about, do I want to go into a more support role where I know how the system works, and I understand the challenges that somebody is facing, so I can answer those inquiries. And that’s an interesting role. It’s often a role to get your feet wet inside of a company, and then you can grow in that, or you can move over to an adjacent role, which is maybe you want to start learning how to deploy the software.
Morris Panner: And again, you’re not writing the software, but you’re understanding, okay, we need to make sure that I have access and that you have access. You have to learn how to use the software. But it’s not that different than learning any software program that you probably use in your life today. And then finally, another area that you could think about would be actually selling the software. We have an enormous number of people who are selling the software, but software sales for an industry like this is completely different than what you might think about in other sales contexts. If you’ve seen movies about sales, it’s really about selling a solution, understanding the needs and desires of the workflow of the department people are in. I can’t tell you how many opportunities exist for clinical people to make that transition. And then, by the way, I’ve seen some people do that for a while and then transition back to clinical practice. And having been on both sides of the fence, some people say is extremely valuable for helping their department run better and being able to advance in that way as well.
Jennifer Callahan: So the woman that you were speaking about, when we start this conversation, did she bring those insights that we were talking that were fantastic?
Morris Panner: And I think what she started out doing was working inside of our I didn’t mention this part, but she worked within the product organization for a while. She helped manage some of the customer elements as well. And all of those things. And each of those things, she had things that she had to learn, but she also brought a basic sort of passion and commitment to the field and to the people she was working with, and that shined through. So one of the things that we do as a company is we invest in helping people learn about what we do. We have a pretty active training program, and also people are pretty generous. It’s health care and most of the people are in it for the right reasons. Most people at the end of the day, if you say to them, I want to help somebody get better, that’s pretty compelling, right? We’ll get pretty excited about that. So I think her trajectory is a fun one to talk about because it takes into account the fact that she made the jump. I just find the fact that she heard about it on a loudspeaker and decided that day, this is what I’m going to do, kind of fun. And now I think it’s reflects well on her, and I think on our company that you can work your way up and have new opportunities. And I think it’s people gave her very nice feedback inside the company because people inside companies can tell who’s in it for the right reasons, too. And one of the reasons that I think clinicians do so well in and it’s not just our company, I think there are many excellent companies out there that would have a similar perspective. So I’m not suggesting that we’re unique. I think this is general advice for the industry as opposed to just our company. I think if our industry roundtable, you’d hear a lot of similar sentiments.
Jennifer Callahan: You’re used within all of radiology. Is it also to Intel around transition back to that real fast or use in the cardiac imaging realm as well, since you said that she’s part of that. So is that part of like say like the cath lab and other areas such as that? Yeah.
Morris Panner: So our focus is on three areas. Well, you could call it two large areas. We do a lot with the registry and CVS. And then our emergent area where we’re really focused right now is on cardiac CT, cardiac MR And cardiac Echo. And what we do is we provide an advanced viewing capability that we try to integrate into the larger system. So that cardiology sometimes used to be off in a I don’t want to call it an island, but it was two islands in an archipelago, right? They had radiology and cardiology increasingly because of the use of cardiac imaging. Those are coming together. So you want to have access to the cardiac imaging for the cardiology, as well as for the cardiac imager, who might be a radiologist. And a lot of the same machines are being used to capture. If you’re doing coronary calcium measurements with a CT, that same CT machine is being used for a lot of other things, and so you need to make sure that you can bring the right person to bear on all. That’s a basic example, but you get my point.
Jennifer Callahan: Which are software almost. So for the system that I work for, they have cardiology PACs and then we have radiology PACs. Is this merging the two of them together or would they still be separate? Yeah. No.
Morris Panner: What’s nice about this is it’s really the viewer that distinguishes those two systems. And so if you can have a system that bridges that with a workflow engine, that’s the what I talked about, the workflow piece, you can have the right view or go to the right person at the right time. All the imaging is in one single repository. That part doesn’t need to be segregated by department. And it’s a great way to get that cross-functional collaboration, which right now happens. Of course, no question. But this makes it even smoother and makes that workflow quicker. You want that data collaboration because when you’re logging into separate systems, you’re probably not sharing the information the way you could be. That’s our aspiration. So when I talk about enterprise imaging, I think about imaging across the enterprise. You wouldn’t lose the distinctive nature of your cardiology analysis. That intellectual exercise would remain intact. But then it would be easier for a cardiologist to collaborate with a radiologist. And my aspiration is not to have to go through any of this. But if I am really sick, the number of different perspectives you need to get that really comprehensive view is significant.
Jennifer Callahan: I think there’s so much innovation going on out there and so many great ideas happening out there. I’m sure that your company is working on something at this moment too, to either better what’s already there or maybe a whole new development. The brains that work behind this are truly amazing. Thing.
Morris Panner: That’s part of, I think, why people are drawn to these multimodal careers because you get to see it in the field, you get to see it in development. You get to really have a comprehensive view. And as I say, these are not the kind of sales where you sell it and forget it. This begins a lifelong relationship. The biggest decision somebody may make in their career is picking one of these complex software systems, and that’s going to define how their department thinks about them, how their colleagues think about them. So it’s a big commitment and we feel the importance of that. I’m sure all of our competitors do too. And as a consequence, the excitement of being part of that. When you make a commitment to somebody, you really feel like you’re part of their team too. So we sometimes say within our company, we’re part of the care team. You wouldn’t think that necessarily if you were inside, but that’s how we think about it. Even though we’re very humble, part of the care team, we think of ourselves as having a big responsibility to that team.
Jennifer Callahan: And tailored solely based in North America like the United States and Canada. Or are you also to global as well?
Morris Panner: Why’d you ask that? We are global. So if you want to think about our span, we have a very large business in the United Kingdom, and that’s both private as well as the National Health Service. And then we have a very big business in Australia. And interestingly enough, some of our technological innovations really took root in Australia because Australia is a very big country, very big, characterized by large, inaccessible parts of it, not inaccessible, but nobody really lives there. It’s the populated areas are somewhat concentrated, but there’s still people who need to be reached. And so you need a very agile system to be able to serve very distributed. And sometimes a population that doesn’t have great bandwidth access. And so some of the innovations we worked on were to make what we call teleradiology the telemedicine piece. And that really works well for populations that can’t necessarily be in a big urban area where maybe the bandwidth and other pieces are more developed. So it worked great for us, and as a consequence, we learned a lot and became a very important part of the Australian healthcare scene. That’s fun to the global piece of this is a lot of fun, and we’re looking at more markets as we go. Because one thing about I’m sure you’ve experienced this, one thing about imaging is it’s a global workflow. If you went to a hospital, maybe the language would be challenging, but you could work anywhere. The ways people get treated and taken care of is very similar around the globe, and that’s a big advantage from the standpoint of being able to provide systems to people, because other than we have to make the instructions in whatever language is appropriate, the actual system is the same. It would be different if we had to do a tax software system or something. French taxation is very different than British taxation, different than US taxation. But health care is very similar.
Jennifer Callahan: From a radiology standpoint. I mean, I would think at least from x-ray, like a chest x-ray is a chest x-ray. Yeah.
Morris Panner: One of the things that I think is exciting is the willingness when you’re like a big conference like Cessna, the willingness of people from around the world to learn from each other is really inspiring. And in a world today where it feels like it’s not easy to get kind of collaboration and cooperation at Cessna, at least, it felt very much like you could see how smart people across the globe were collaborating to try to make people healthier, right?
Jennifer Callahan: To share what they’ve learned to help better. I’m sure many countries have the ability to do more research than others, working with older equipment and things like that, but sharing information, like you said and research to better help the world as a whole.
Morris Panner: Well, this was a lot of fun. I don’t know if we had 100% planned on talking about careers and everything else, but it just feels like a very natural fit and it’s fun to talk about with you. I really have enjoyed it.
Jennifer Callahan: My pleasure everybody. Thanks for joining us this afternoon. This is Morris Panner. I’m Jen Callahan on the Skeleton Crew. Make sure you check back next week for another great episode. And check us out on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and then also to YouTube. So Morris, thank you again for being with me. I really appreciate it.
Morris Panner: Yeah, this was great. Thank you for hosting me.
Jennifer Callahan: You’ve been listening to the Skeleton Crew, brought to you by x-raytechnicianschools.com. Join us on the next episode to explore the present and the future of the Rad Tech career and the field of radiology.