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ASPs draw standing-room-only crowds at AHRA meeting


ASPs draw standing-room-only crowds at AHRA meetingVendors stress Internet-based image managementDespite greater vendor participation and growing enthusiasm by hospitals for PACS and application service providers (ASPs), turnout was

ASPs draw standing-room-only crowds at AHRA meeting

Vendors stress Internet-based image management

Despite greater vendor participation and growing enthusiasm by hospitals for PACS and application service providers (ASPs), turnout was slightly lower than expected at the annual American Healthcare Radiology Administrators meeting in Nashville, Aug. 6-10. About 3000 attendees and exhibitors gathered at the sprawling Opryland Hotel complex, although fewer than 1000 were AHRA members.

Even so, the educational sessions—long a strong point of the AHRA meeting—were well attended, with those discussing the implications of e-health and the pros and cons of ASPs among the most crowded.

Some 200 vendors opted to display their wares at this year’s AHRA meeting. Virtually all of the major PACS vendors had a presence at the show, although a handful were conspicuous by their absence—most notably eMed Technologies and Data General.

Surprisingly, there were also very few RIS vendors this year, with DEC the most noticeable of the no-shows. Indeed, comparing the AHRA with the Society for Computer Applications in Radiology show, SCAR has become the show of choice for PACS and RIS, while AHRA remains a stronghold for department management and other nonmodality-based systems.

Still, ALI Technologies, Amicas, Imco (formerly Rogan), and a few others created a strong presence for the smaller, independent firms that have helped push the role of the Internet in image management. Many of these companies are now beginning to roll out their own ASP solutions, although cautiously. Flush with its recently received $10 million in venture capital and newly signed major OEM arrangement with GE, eMageon announced several beta sites for its off-site archival solution.

Similarly, InSite One, which raised $3 million in venture capital in April, showed off its relationship with RealTimeImage and demonstrated its fast off-site data transfer capability (see news brief, p. 5). The relationship between RTI and InSite is unclear, however, with an RTI press release stating that an OEM relationship exists between the two firms, while InSite’s representatives said the deal is still undergoing evaluation.

InPhact displayed its RadWeb product, which offers a pay-per-exam pricing scheme, and Stentor, MedTel Systems, and FYI Healthserve all showed Web-based archive solutions. A newcomer to this field, Sorna, demonstrated its DICOM Exchange station, a CD-ROM-based archiving product.

The AHRA meeting provided a good venue for digital radiography (DR) products, especially those appealing to entry-level customers. Digident (now known as Orex Computed Radiography) exhibited its single-plate reader, which is slated for a street price of under $40,000 when launched early next year. Cares Built is looking to launch its relatively versatile DR line this fall in the $150,000 range.

In addition, Samsung displayed its Raypax product line, a change from rollouts of Raypax product over the past two years, which have all been through the company’s distributor relationship with Weustec. It was also interesting to see such a heavy push by independent x-ray dealer Diagnostic Imaging of Philips’ Sectra product, especially considering the company was literally across the aisle from PACS powerhouse GE.

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