Agfa Healthcare metamorphoses into global IT

March 6, 2005
Greg Freiherr

Two months after its acquisition of information technology specialist GWI, Agfa Healthcare was promoting its consolidation at the ECR as a decisive step in its transformation into a global healthcare IT company.

Two months after its acquisition of information technology specialist GWI, Agfa Healthcare was promoting its consolidation at the ECR as a decisive step in its transformation into a global healthcare IT company.

Agfa is presenting GWI's Orbis IT platform and its own Impax RIS/PACS as entry points to different but integral parts of the healthcare continuum. Radiologists will ultimately benefit from these products, according to Philippe Houssiau, president of the Agfa HealthCare Business Group.

"Radiology is becoming increasingly complex at the same time the pool of professionals is decreasing," he said. "Extending IT across the enterprise makes data transfer and data processing much easier so that the productivity of the radiologist can improve dramatically."

Agfa is leveraging Orbis' administrative and clinical IT platform as the foundation for an enterprise-wide electronic medical record integrated with its homegrown Impax. Even before acquiring GWI, Agfa had been branching outside radiology, expanding its Impax platform to include cardiology, orthopedics, and women's healthcare. Expansion into computer diagnostics and mammography workstations buoyed surgical planning for orthopedic surgeons and workstations specific to cardiology.

With Orbis, Agfa expands further into pediatrics, dermatology, oncology, psychiatry, urology, internal medicine, gynecology, ophthalmology, general surgery, and even dental medicine and nursing. Functions address planning, physician consultation, treatment, ordering, clinical results, and reporting, as well as administrative tasks such as accounting.

Access to this wide range of data promises to boost the efficiency of healthcare, said Michael Rosbach, formerly GWI's chief sales officer and now an executive at Agfa Healthcare.

"Patient data should be available not only to one or two places in a hospital but to every caregiver who seeks this information," he said.

Bringing Orbis and Impax together will change the practice of medicine as it extends the reach of radiology, according to Rosbach and Houssiau. CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO CLIP

Future development will combine the two platforms into one. The goal is to create a holistic enterprise-wide system that integrates all clinical and administrative data. The first draft of such a technology could be in hand within in eight to 16 months, according to Houssiau.

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