Base Ten sees mid-range niche for ultrasound archiving system

Firm gets clearances for uPACS componentsBase Ten Systems of Trenton, NJ, believes there is room for growthin the mid-range segment of the ultrasound miniPACS market. Thecompany is preparing to market uPACS, an image capture and archivingsystem

Firm gets clearances for uPACS components

Base Ten Systems of Trenton, NJ, believes there is room for growthin the mid-range segment of the ultrasound miniPACS market. Thecompany is preparing to market uPACS, an image capture and archivingsystem that targets a market segment below that occupied by systemssuch as Acuson's Aegis and ATL's Access.

Base Ten last month received 510(k) clearance for two earlyversions of uPACS, which was debuted as a work-in-progress atlast year's European Congress of Radiology meeting (SCAN 3/29/95).One configuration consists of a uPACS PC station hardwired toa single scanner, while the other configuration is for a mobileversion in which a magneto-optical disk image capture device rideson an ultrasound scanner. The disk can then be manually transferredto a central uPACS station.

uPACS employs an IBM-compatible PC archiving station with aCD-ROM writer capable of archiving over 1000 color or 3000 gray-scaleimages to each 650-MB CD-ROM disk. Ultrasound images are digitizedusing a framegrabber and then stored on redundant hard drivesto avoid data loss in the event of a drive crash.

The system does not support cine loops, although sonographerscan save individual still images from a loop. Ultrasound sitescan connect the system to a CD-ROM jukebox for online access toarchived images, although Base Ten has found that most of itsbeta sites consider off-line archiving to be adequate. The uPACShard drive contains a directory of all images ever stored on thesystem, which makes locating individual CDs easier, accordingto Walter Brandes, vice president and COO.

While last month's clearances are good news, Base Ten is pinningits hopes on a networked version of uPACS in development, Brandessaid. The system will be DICOM-compatible and will enable BaseTen to network an entire ultrasound department.

That version would compete directly with miniPACS productsfrom some of ultrasound's heaviest hitters, but Brandes sees roomin the market for a lower priced product.

"A lot of the systems out there are either much smalleror much larger than uPACS," Brandes said.

Base Ten is targeting a list price of about $65,000 for a uPACSconnected to three color Doppler scanners. Such a system wouldinclude a central reading station, redundant hard drives, CD-ROMwriter, M/O disk, and support for color image capture.

Base Ten in December began selling uPACS in Europe througha network of distributors and has sold about six systems in theregion. The company is ramping up its sales effort in the U.S.as well. It hopes to go direct, but is also willing to sign ondistributors for the product. The company does not intend to pursueOEM agreements with ultrasound scanner vendors, as ALI Technologieshas done with its miniPACS product.

"We found that if you distribute specifically throughan ultrasound company, it would try to place your PACS productonly with its ultrasound systems," Brandes said.