Firm's uPACS to include CAD functionsBase Ten Systems of Trenton, NJ, has become the latest defenseelectronics firm to diversify into medical imaging. The companyhas found that its experience developing software for the defenseindustry can be
Base Ten Systems of Trenton, NJ, has become the latest defenseelectronics firm to diversify into medical imaging. The companyhas found that its experience developing software for the defenseindustry can be transferred to medical applications, includingultrasound image archiving and analysis.
Base Ten made its medical imaging debut at this month's EuropeanCongress of Radiology meeting in Vienna with uPACS, an image captureand archiving system for ultrasound that was displayed as a work-in-progress.Base Ten plans to position uPACS as a low-cost alternative tomore elaborate ultrasound image management systems, accordingto Walter Brandes, vice president and COO.
The system is based on an IBM-compatible PC archiving stationwith a CD-ROM writer capable of archiving over 2000 gray-scaleimages to each 650-MB CD-ROM disk. Video ultrasound images aredigitized using a framegrabber and then stored on redundant harddrives to avoid data loss in the event of a drive crash. BaseTen plans to develop DICOM 3.0 compatibility for uPACS, Brandessaid.
Users can network uPACS in several configurations over localarea networks, adding options such as CD-ROM jukeboxes, magneto-opticaldisk data transfer, and remote viewing stations. Images on uPACSviewing stations can be magnified and annotated, and an opticalcharacter recognition (OCR) text interpreter allows text on adigitized ultrasound image to be converted from picture formatback into text, avoiding the need to re-input patient demographicdata, according to Brandes.
Currently, the system only supports static gray-scale ultrasoundimages, but when uPACS is released later this year it will supportcolor. The company is also investigating the possibility of incorporatingcine loops into the system.
In addition, Base Ten is developing a computer-aided test interpretation(CATI) function that will use sophisticated image analysis algorithmsto help sonographers detect early signs of pathology. For example,uPACS will be able to analyze real-time data coming from a fetalultrasound study and alert users to the possibility of spina bifida.Sonographers would then be able to call in an expert for consultationor conduct additional scans to collect more data, Brandes said.Base Ten would probably require the receipt of a premarket approval(PMA) submission before it could market such an application foruPACS, although the system itself will require only a 510(k) application,according to Brandes.
Base Ten is targeting a summer release date for uPACS in Europeand a launch in the U.S. on the receipt of 510(k) clearance. Thesystem is being used as the exclusive PACS product for the EuropeanRandomized Trial for Ovarian Cancer Screening (ERTOCS) study.The system is multilingual and can switch between languages atthe touch of a hot key.
Base Ten plans to market uPACS through OEM agreements and distributors,but the company has not yet committed itself to a partner. Theob/gyn market will likely be the first niche for the system, withcardiology to follow. Base Ten expects uPACS to list for lessthan $30,000.
Base Ten entered the medical market about two years ago afterthe slowdown in defense spending caused by the end of the ColdWar, Brandes said. Base Ten has developed uPACS to be safety critical,in which the software constantly tests itself to prevent errorsin critical functions. Its experience in the demanding arenasof the defense industry may give it an edge over competitors inthe ultrasound image management niche, according to Brandes.