AccuImage adds new dimension to PACS workstation softwareCompany believes 3-D/4-D capability will enhance soft-copy viewingSoft-copy reading has been cited as one of the many benefits of PACS, although many of the technology's early
Company believes 3-D/4-D capability will enhance soft-copy viewing
Soft-copy reading has been cited as one of the many benefits of PACS, although many of the technology's early adopters may have felt otherwise. One company that hopes to improve the soft-copy viewing experience is AccuImage, a small South San Francisco, CA-based firm that provides 3-D/4-D capabilities to imaging vendors, including ultrafast CT developer Imatron.
While PACS networks confer substantial benefits to hospitals, they typically store and transmit only 2-D images, said Allen Poirson, president and CEO of AccuImage.
"That is only part of the image data you can milk," he said.
The company's basic software application for PACS users is AccuView, a PC-based DICOM viewing application that provides a number of handy image-viewing tools. With AccuView, radiologists can perform distance measurement around a region of interest, pan and zoom, and view images in 2-D, 3-D, and even 4-D if the modality acquires that type of data, Poirson said. AccuView runs on Windows 95/98/NT operating systems.
Customers can choose to add modules to the basic viewing package. AccuScope allows radiologists to employ "fly-through" capabilities, simulating internal views of body cavities. Another module, AccuScore, provides calcium scoring and reporting capabilities, while AccuAnalyze allows radiologists to analyze pulmonary diseases and also calculate fat content, Poirson said.
AccuSurface confers a surface-rendering capability to help radiologists check for interfering structures and bone fragments. The company also offers a full color volume-rendering package that radiologists can employ in applications such as diagnosis of vascular anomalies and renal disease, Poirson said.
Finally, AccuNet allows users to send, receive, and print DICOM 3.0 image data sets.
While AccuImage's PACS family does hook up into existing PACS networks, it is capable of functioning as a stand-alone PACS network, supporting archiving functions, Poirson said. Internet/intranet transfer of images is supported, he said.
In the future, AccuImage plans to add capabilities such as voice input and annotation.
The company has established beta sites for the product at Stanford University Medical Center; University of California, San Francisco; VA Fresno; and University of Graz in Graz, Austria. A 510(k) application for the Food and Drug Administration is being prepared, with clearance anticipated in February, Poirson said.
AccuImage will sell its products directly to smaller sites and hopes to secure OEM agreements with PACS companies for distribution to larger sites worldwide. A basic AccuView package is free with purchase of any individual module, which runs from $1000 to $25,000. A complete package including all available modules would cost approximately $80,000. Imatron will install and service the products, Poirson said. AccuImage will demonstrate its PACS technology at this month's Radiological Society of North America meeting.