Cardiology systems advance toward integrated EMR goal

April 5, 2000

Cardiology systems advance toward integrated EMR goalACC showcases ASPs and Web-based platformsCardiology information and image management systems continue to make strides in the uphill journey toward a fully integrated cardiovascular

Cardiology systems advance toward integrated EMR goal

ACC showcases ASPs and Web-based platforms

Cardiology information and image management systems continue to make strides in the uphill journey toward a fully integrated cardiovascular electronic medical record. Judging by many of the exhibits at the annual American College of Cardiology meeting in Anaheim, CA, last month, the Internet is playing a key role in facilitating this effort.

The ultimate destination, mapped out and driven forward by the ACC in collaboration with other professional societies and vendors, is technologically ambitious but clinically obvious: an electronic patient record that brings to the point-of-care patient history, dynamic and static medical images, electrocardiographic and hemodynamic waveforms, laboratory and other clinical data, and demographic and billing information. However, as is the case with the Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) effort, opening up once-proprietary systems and making integrated medical records a practical reality remain works-in-progress.

Fortunately, several vendors who turned out for this year’s ACC meeting took what may be one of the most important steps in attaining this goal: using the Internet to enable easier and less costly access to images and information by physicians anytime, anywhere. Other important advances noted at the show include a broadening of integrated information and image management systems into applications beyond the catheterization laboratory.

The following is a roundup of some of the key advances in cardiology information and image management systems on display at the ACC meeting:

  • Acuson of Mountain View, CA, announced that it has begun to ship its KinetDx PACS to echocardiography laboratories, following release of the system to radiology departments late last year. The KinetDx PACS is an ultrasound-specific image management system with online reporting capabilities, simultaneous display of up to 18 dynamic clips on dual monitors, in-progress exam review, and inclusion of ultrasound measurements and calculations in the final report via automatic transfer from the imaging equipment.

  • ADAC Laboratories of Milpitas, CA, previewed CorCAAT On-Line as a work-in-progress. Using the Web-based system, clinicians would be able to review medical images, hemodynamic data, and textual information on a standard PC equipped with a Web browser. The company also announced that it will work to integrate its nuclear imaging equipment with Oakland, CA-based Seattle Systems’ Apollo cardiovascular information system. Patient information stored on Apollo can also be accessed through Seattle System’s Web portal, CardioChart.com.

In related news, ADAC’s Healthcare Information Systems division in Houston and Fairfield, NJ-based OptiMed Technologies are collaborating on an integrated cardiac image archive and cardiac catheterization lab information management system called CAATi that physicians can access online both within the hospital and remotely. ADAC will market the new system, which is compatible with all x-ray catheterization systems and able to integrate echocardiography and radiography images.

  • Agilent Technologies of Andover, MA, previewed enhancements to its EnConcert echocardiography image management system as a work-in-progress. In addition to improving the way users can view and manipulate stress echocardiography images and customize reports, a Web server option enables clinicians to view final reports and compressed images over the hospital intranet using a standard Web browser.

  • Camtronics Medical Systems of Milwaukee demonstrated enhancements to its new Vericis information and image management system. In addition to echocardiography, Vericis now interfaces with imaging systems in the cardiac catheterization, nuclear medicine, and electrophysiology laboratories. Intravascular ultrasound data and hemodynamic waveforms are next in line, now that the necessary DICOM standards are in place.

  • Cedara Software introduced its directDICOM software to the OEM market. The company says its high-throughput streaming DICOM network transfer software eliminates the need for prefetching of images and represents an important first step in enabling Web access to DICOM data warehouses. The Toronto-based company also announced a collaboration with UCLA to design and implement a multimodality cardiology workstation.

  • Like many vendors in the healthcare market these days, Kansas City-based Cerner is forging ahead on the application service provider path. In the ASP arena, the company now offers both the CVLink data registry software and the Health Network Architecture (HNA) Millennium family of products, of which the CVNet cardiology information system is a part.

  • Cardiology image management company ComView of Pleasanton, CA, announced eTeleCardiology, a free service that will enable cardiologists to view, store, and share cardiology images and reports over the Internet using an enhanced version of its free ViewStarPC software.

  • GE Marquette Medical Systems of Milwaukee announced several enhancements to its Catalyst MUSE cardiology information system. New Web-enabled features now make it possible for clinicians to access patient data from a healthcare organization’s intranet and distribute clinical data via e-mail. Hand-in-hand with these capabilities are security upgrades that include password protection, a permanent record of the physician who finalizes a clinical report, and tracking of any modifications to a confirmed report.

  • Gateway Electronic Medical Management Systems (GEMMS), which offers perhaps the only clinical and administrative information system designed specifically for office-based cardiologists, also introduced an ASP option at the ACC meeting. The Sapphire System operates on Citrix thin-client workstations and Microsoft Windows terminal servers housed in GEMMS’ Indianapolis headquarters.

  • Philips Medical Systems of Shelton, CT, added an image management network to its Inturis product line. Dubbed the Inturis Suite, the system offers online storage, long-term archiving, database management of digital angiographic images, and image review from any user location using Easy Web.

  • Seattle Systems showcased its entry into the world of ASPs with CardioRegistry.asp. For a fixed monthly fee, CardioRegistry.asp—which can be found on Seattle Systems’ CardioChart.com Web portal—will provide hospitals and other healthcare institutions a way to contribute to the ACC’s National Cardiovascular Data Registry without having to manage on-site software upgrades or maintain on-site databases. The software supports encrypted data transfer to a remote data center over a virtual private network. Seattle Systems is also exploring offering an ASP option for its flagship Apollo 32 information management system.

  • Iselin, NJ-based Siemens Medical Systems introduced a Web-based variation of its Acom.Net image distribution network.

© 2000 Miller Freeman, Inc., a United News & Media company.