According to company lore, Agfa began in 1867, when a Belgian "photo products" business teamed up with a German dye manufacturer and formed a graphic and healthcare company. Now, over a century later, Agfa HealthCare, a division of the Agfa-Gevaert Group, is an international corporation developing, producing and distributing a range of IT solutions and imaging analog, digital and reproduction products.
Agfa is a healthy company, and is gearing up for the future. "Our success," says Bob Pryor, president of HealthCare Americas for Agfa, "is going to be contingent on our ability to drive operational excellence and customer satisfaction to a level where we achieve a customer who is delighted with Agfa, not just satisfied."
With over 14,000 employees, Agfa's R&D is spread across its radiology, departmental and enterprise solutions for both large and small stand-alone community-based providers.
"I believe that we have selected three strategic legs that are very critical to helping our customer base on a global basis move to an electronic medical, or some people call it, an electronic patient record," Pryor says.
In the United States, Agfa has joined forces with IBM (Armonk, N.Y.), MedSeek (Solvang, Calif.), and EMC (Toronto) to secure partnerships, and has recently acquired French hospital information systems company, Symphonie on Line, as well as cardiology image and information management systems company, Heartlab, Inc. (Westerly, R.I.)
As to how Agfa fits into the competitive IT world, Pryor says he is certain he knows.
"There's not a company out there that knows how to move the customer base from analog to digital any better or for that matter equal to Agfa," he says. "Because of our knowledge, in particular, in radiology and cardiology where we saw the ineffective use of film, we were able to develop systems that actually improve significantly the workflow, thereby making the physicians, not only more efficient, but also more effective."
Agfa is remaining focused on moving from the analog to the digital. "We know what we're good at," Pryor says, "and we stay focused on these things. Agfa is not going to confuse the marketplace with what it is not. We are going to strengthen what Agfa is."