Appleton-based health system ThedaCare has invested $3 million into Smart Choice MRI, a Mequon company that offers MRI tests for $600 or less.
ThedaCare will take a 10 percent ownership stake in the company, and its chief information officer, Keith Livingston, will join Smart Choice MRI’s board of directors.
The two began looking at a partnership last summer as Smart Choice MRI was opening one of its six clinics in Appleton. At first, Smart Choice MRI considered ThedaCare a competitor, as the health system does its own MRIs. But CEO Rick Anderson said that changed when he learned more about ThedaCare’s approach of serving the community.
“Once we knew we had cultural alignment, and we weren’t going to be looking at each other as competitors, we realized we had a really good fit,” he said.
ThedaCare doctors will begin offering Smart Choice MRI’s clinics as an option for patients. The health system, Livingston says, has a lot to learn from Smart Choice MRI’s unusually high consumer satisfaction ratings.
“They’re doing something right,” Livingston said. “We want to partner with them to figure out what it is and how we can take what they have figured out and use it in all other parts of our organization, imaging or not.”
The company has raised at least $10 million total and is using the funds to help fund its expansion into other states. It plans on opening four Chicago-area clinics by April, including one next week, and four clinics in the Twin Cities by July.
— By Polo Rocha,