It may sound surprising, but many Americans do not have easy access to their own medical imaging records. With no universal medical data platform that provides medical data on-demand available, treatment is dependent on getting CDs and images to the right place at the right time, resulting in inefficiencies and delays. Thankfully there is Ambra Health, the Saas platform that allows medical professional to easily store, analyze and send medical images through a cloud platform, streamlining a task that would often take weeks. No longer relying on CD uploads or a patient portal, the Ambra Health platform is the universal solution for personal medical imaging records. The company has raised nearly $40M to date, with their most recent round coming from Canaan Partners.
AlleyWatch chatted with CEO Morris Panner about the Startup and the effect they have already made in the medical world.
Tell us about the product or service.
Ambra Health takes medical imaging like x-ray, CT, ultrasound and moves it to the cloud so hospitals and health systems can get to it anytime, anywhere. Ambra streamlines the medical image exchange process and connects patients, care providers, and facilities worldwide so that doctors can focus on what matters most: patient care. Using the Ambra platform, physicians can safely and easily power all their image exchange needs including CD upload, patient portals, physician portals, second opinion workflows, trauma transfer, telestroke and clinical trials. More than 1,000 healthcare providers share images using the Ambra network today, from across more than 50 countries worldwide. In total, more than 3 billion images are managed through the Ambra platform.
Ambra’s technology is highly scalable to the various imaging needs across the healthcare sector – from small private practices to large health systems. In addition, it is designed as a completely open platform from the ground up for the internet age with modern web services that supports true interoperability across broad healthcare networks. This flexibility of Ambra makes us stand out as we provide our customers with the ability to easily adapt to their unique needs and apply our extensive knowledge to deliver innovative medical image management solutions for the future of digital health.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
Ambra solutions address a total market currently valued at $5 billion, growing to $10 billion in 2020 according to reports from analyst firms Frost & Sullivan and MarketsandMarkets. Segments within this market space span medical image storage, exchange, workflow, next generation imaging services and the global healthcare cloud computing market.
What is the business model?
We are a software-as-a-service technology company that sells directly to healthcare practitioners including private practices, hospitals and large health systems.
What inspired the business?
Healthcare still operates with CDs and faxes – a cumbersome and time consuming process that often delays the delivery of care, increases costs, and can lead to redundant imaging scans. This was something I felt first hand when my son had serious health complications as a young child. Thankfully, he’s fine now but having to carry imaging from the local hospital to each different specialist we were referred to was a nightmare no parent should have to experience. There had to be a better way. The rise of cloud computing and the potential for this type of scalable, flexible data storage and easy workflow for moving medical imaging was the catalyst for the business. Secure, cloud-based sharing of medical images provides a better alternative to current image storage and distribution practices and offers significant benefits to both care providers and patients, bringing healthcare into the 21st century.
You recently changed the name of the company. Why the change?
We conducted a fairly extensive customer and industry study to get some specific feedback on the value we were delivering to healthcare providers. From those findings, it became clear that our old name, which was based on a specific imaging standard, only reflected a portion of the impact we were having in digital health. Our customers saw us as a trusted innovation partner who could help them transform how medical imaging was leveraged to solve the toughest problems of care. So to capture this sentiment that we learned from our study and to better reflect the future vision for the company, we found a very beautiful name, Ambra – which means Amber in Italian, a stone to which folk wisdom attributes healing properties and warmth. We hope it will be a touchstone for innovation going forward.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
Our company works on a two-year financial and operational plan. We have three simple goals: 1) continue to grow at a healthy pace!; 2) ensure our customer churn stays low – currently it is almost non-existent and we want to keep it that way; and 3) ensure our team members are advancing in their chosen path. If we focus on our growth, our customers and team, we feel we will hit our overall two year target.
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
There is no shortage of start up advice, so I have probably gotten an awful lot. Still, the one thing I keep in mind is that we are trying to take a fresh look at our industry. Listening to how someone else did it, somewhere else is valuable as perspective, but we are truly trying to make it up as we go along. We are bringing a unique business and technical model to an industry that desperately needs innovation and change. Our insights and ability to think critically about what we are seeing across the healthcare landscape and then adjust, is the most valuable thing we do.
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?
The Curator of Latin American Art at the MoMa. I have always loved Latin American art and admire those who make it more accessible to the public. At our company, we work to make a very different kind of imaging accessible, but it would be fascinating to compare notes.
Why did you launch in New York?
Talent, talent, talent. We have great people and NYC is as good a magnet for talent as there is. It also doesn’t hurt that NYC is home to some of the world’s great healthcare institutions. We are particularly proud of our relationship with New York Presbyterian. The work we are doing with their team there is as innovative as it gets, plus they are really nice people with big hearts. Working together on a mission driven business has been a lot of fun.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
Our New York headquarters are by Wall Street in the Fulton Center so we tend to stay close to TriBeCa for dinners out and would definitely rank Terra as one of our favorites. Team events also frequent Parm and El Vez for happy hour so those are also go-to spots.