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German teleradiology firm releases Java DICOM viewer


German teleradiology firm releases Java DICOM viewerVisus-TT’s JiveX line eases image, EMR integrationAlthough much of the buzz lately about the Internet’s potential in healthcare involves XML (HNN 9/20/00, 10/18/00),

German teleradiology firm releases Java DICOM viewer

Visus-TT’s JiveX line eases image, EMR integration

Although much of the buzz lately about the Internet’s potential in healthcare involves XML (HNN 9/20/00, 10/18/00), most vendors interested in using the Web to create applications or to bridge between users and distant servers continue to rely on Java as their programming language. Because of Java’s inherent independence from the various operating systems, anyone using a Java-capable browser can run Java programs or applets, thereby reducing implementation headaches, at least on the client side. Imaging firms such as Stentor, Siemens, Algotec, and Emageon have long recognized Java’s suitability for Web-based image distribution.

German software developer Visus Technology Transfer is entering the fray with a suite of products called JiveX that uses Java to access and work with DICOM images. The core product, JiveX dv, is a DICOM viewer that can open DICOM images over the Internet or as e-mail attachments.

Researchers at the University of Witten/Herdecke began developing the core technology for JiveX in 1996 at the department of medical computer sciences of the Institute for Microtherapy. They formed Visus-TT as an independent corporation to commercialize the software in August of this year.

“JiveX has been developed with the latest Java technologies and is especially designed to help physicians view and process medical images,” said Jörg Holstein, managing director of Visus-TT. “Files with the .dcm extension are recognized as DICOM data and can be opened with a double click of the mouse.”

In addition to the viewer, the JiveX product line includes the rv (a combination study manager and viewer), vb (software for visual presentation and processing of image data), ep (software to integrate image data into documentation/information systems), and cd (a viewer developed for images stored off-line on CDs). All of the software is commercially available, but the company does not yet have a standardized price list, according to Holstein. A single license for JiveX dv is 250 Euros (US $210), however, and a free version of dv is available for download at visus-tt.com.

“The JiveX products have been mainly developed for integration in healthcare enterprise information systems—RIS, HIS, and the electronic patient record,” Holstein said. “No other company can reach this target group in the field of image visualization like we do, and in order to demonstrate the outstanding abilities of our products, we put the free viewer on our Web site.”

The firm is using its own lossless image compression (ratio of 2:1) to maintain diagnostic-quality images. JiveX also supports run-length encoding and JPEG and will support wavelet compression in the future, according to Holstein.

Visus-TT is initially launching the product in Europe and hopes to enter the U.S. market early next year. The firm expects to have certification for the European market in November and has already begun the FDA approval process for JiveX. Holstein considers Softmedical and Algotec the company’s prime potential competitors.

“Our main technical advantage compared to other companies is the integration abilities of our systems and software components,” he said. “Ever since the start of the JiveX project, we have been aiming to achieve widespread use of our products by thoroughly supporting the latest DICOM technologies, such as the DICOM gray-scale soft-copy presentation states.”

Visus-TT plans to provide its client-server–based products in the U.S. primarily through partnerships and is in negotiations with several companies, according to Holstein. Its first partners in the U.S. are OTech, a healthcare technology consulting firm concentrating in radiology and PACS, and Gliex Diagnostics and Therapeutics, a biotechnology company initially focusing on brain tumor research.

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