THE BIG PICTURE: Small PACS firms continue innovation

January 1, 1999

Small PACS firms continue innovationLarger PACS vendors may have dominated the exhibit floor at this year's Radiological Society of North America meeting, but by no means did they hold a monopoly on innovative technology. Despite difficult market

Small PACS firms continue innovation

Larger PACS vendors may have dominated the exhibit floor at this year's Radiological Society of North America meeting, but by no means did they hold a monopoly on innovative technology. Despite difficult market conditions for smaller companies, many new firms appear eager to try their luck in the PACS game, betting that OEMs or end users may be attracted by innovative and cost-effective offerings.

Although not shown on the RNSA exhibit floor, one new PACS concept that looks particularly intriguing is Dynamic Transfer Syntax (DTS), a technology developed at the University of Pittsburgh (see story). UPMC researchers believe the low-cost, enterprise-wide image distribution approach may eliminate the need for high-powered networks and expensive workstations. DTS will be commercialized by start-up company Stentor.

Another interesting PACS entrant is Wam!Net Medical, which has developed a service that allows healthcare institutions to outsource their archiving needs. With storage technology changing at a rapid pace, Wam!Net hopes to remove the risk of obselesence that hospitals face when they begin storing exams to digital media.

Interest in employing the web for image distribution also is on the rise, raising important security issues. One company that believes is has a solution is Open Architecture Systems, shich showed a secure, Web-based teleradiology offering that employs novel methods for ensuring password protection.

Although larger companies continue to hold most of the chips, it seems that there will always be room for new and innovative players at the PACS table.

--Erik L. Ridley, Editor

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