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Dicom Imaging moves beyond dentistry into surgical appli


Dicom Imaging moves beyond dentistry into surgical applicationsFirm plans to launch office-based image management system this yearFront-end image acquisition and management software products that offer PC-based platform independence are

Dicom Imaging moves beyond dentistry into surgical applications

Firm plans to launch office-based image management system this year

Front-end image acquisition and management software products that offer PC-based platform independence are attracting the attention of doctors and technicians outside large hospitals and medical centers.

This trend has prompted Dicom Imaging Systems, a developer of office-based image management systems for dental and medical applications, to expand its product line to include a medical version of its flagship product, the Dental Imaging Suite. The Vancouver, BC-based firm has exercised an option to acquire exclusive worldwide license to the imaging, archiving, retrieval, and simulation software engine that will serve as the basis for the Medical Imaging Suite.

This is the same technology behind the Dental Imaging Suite, which was introduced last November. In both cases, Dicom Imaging licensed the technology from Torchmark Holdings, an intellectual-property holding company, which had acquired it from Image FX Software Solutions. Image FX is a software developer that has created a number of dental and medical imaging applications since 1996, according to David Gane, president and CEO of Dicom Imaging. Dicom has made an initial $50,000 payment toward the total $250,000 it will pay Torchmark for the extended license.

Dicom sees this move as a logical extension of its dental imaging business. The company claims to already have installed more than 1000 Dental Imaging Suites in the four months the product has been on the market. However, the dental product is offered free, online or on CD-ROM, as part of Dicom Imaging’s business plan, according to David Gane, president and CEO. The idea is to build a large customer base that will then want to purchase modular add-ons, service and support contracts, and select hardware devices, including digital cameras, from the company.

The dental package comprises two core modules: imagExplorer and imagEditor. ImageExplorer is a Windows-based image management and archiving solution that reads and writes DICOM data files and captures images from a variety of sources, including digital cameras, intra-oral cameras, digital x-ray systems, operating video microscopes, and scanners. Images are stored on an internal access database in an electronic patient file cabinet for future review, comparison, printing, and communication. ImagEditor allows the user to enhance images obtained through imagExplorer without permanently altering the image. Functions including resizing, color and contrast modification, cropping, and re-orienting.

The Medical Imaging Suite will feature these components and function in much the same way but will be geared toward dermatologists, plastic surgeons, and general surgeons. It is designed to enable doctors to work more closely with their patients when providing cosmetic procedures and to allow patients to preview proposed procedures prior to treatment, according to Gane. It will also enable physicians and technicians to acquire, file, and communicate patient images among one another, their patients, and third-party payers.

“Doctors in their clinics and private operatories will now have the ability to acquire and share images using a DICOM-compliant format and to upload this information to insurance companies and hospitals,” Gane said. “Dermatologists and plastic surgeons are very into photodocumentation for legal and consultative services.”

The Medical Imaging Suite is already undergoing FDA review, Gane added. The company plans a commercial launch in October at the annual meeting of the American Society of Plastic Surgery. In the meantime, Dicom Imaging is pursuing marketing and distribution agreements with various practice management and instrumentation companies that cater to dermatologists, plastic surgeons, and general surgeons; potential partners include Zeiss and Welch Allyn.

“Our approach allows these companies to include a DICOM-compliant imaging module with their products and applications,” Gane said.

Dicom Imaging Systems was founded in March 1999 and went public in November. The company’s stock was trading at 12 5/8 on Feb. 22, the day it declared a three-for-one stock split. The company is also filing to be listed on Nasdaq.

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

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