Publicly traded imaging center operator Akumin is buying part ownership in an unnamed artificial intelligence firm for $4.6 million, company officials said during a recent corporate earnings call.
President and CEO Riadh Zine said this “equity investment” results in Akumin owning a 34.5% interest in the AI company. The new tech partner will supply a pivotal part of Akumin’s new enterprise resource planning software, he added during the May 17 call with investors.
In a follow-up interview, a company official said Akumin is not disclosing the name of its AI partner for “strategic reasons.”
“We hope to provide additional information later this year,” R. Jeffrey White, MBA, director of corporate development and investor relations for the Plantation, Florida-based company, told Radiology Business.
Akumin is now in the process of rolling out a new workflow management software, moving all its staff onto the same ecosystem. White said this partnership is focused on the operational, rather than clinical, side of imaging.
“What we’re talking about really is using AI in the context of the business functionality, not so much in terms of radiology productivity and accuracy, but more about connectivity between all of the various stakeholders, from patients to referring physicians to radiologists to payers,” White said.
Akumin completed the investment as part of a “private placement offering” in March, coupled with the conversion of an earlier debt investment in May 2020. “In collaboration with Akumin, the company has been developing AI-based software for use in the outpatient imaging space, which is expected to be an integral part of Akumin’s new ERP platform,” Zine said at the time.
Following a recent acquisition, the firm now operates 134 outpatient imaging centers, a tenfold increase over the past six years.