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Hewlett-Packard merges PACS with RIS through Consort/OSW partnership


Integrated solution is one of few on marketComputer giant Hewlett-Packard is looking to expand its positionin medical image and information management. In cooperation withtwo software developers, HP's Health Care Information Systemsunit has

Integrated solution is one of few on market

Computer giant Hewlett-Packard is looking to expand its positionin medical image and information management. In cooperation withtwo software developers, HP's Health Care Information Systemsunit has begun offering an integrated PACS/RIS (radiology informationsystem) solution to purchasers of its HP 9000 Series workstations.

HP is hoping its experience in direct medical PACS sales willbe more successful than that of other computer vendors, some ofwhich cemented exclusive relationships with software developersonly to see those deals go sour.

HP is taking a more cautious approach. Rather than buildingexclusive partnerships, HP is linking up with a variety of RISand PACS developers to offer application-specific solutions basedon HP platforms.

One such partner is Consort Technologies of Atlanta. Consortbegan as a developer of information management systems for thenuclear power and weapons industries, according to president MahmoudR. Ghavi. The firm has evolved its products for medical applicationsand now markets information systems for radiology departments,mammography centers and hospital scheduling.

Consort began marketing its RIS, called ProgRIS, about twoyears ago. ProgRIS is a Unix-based system running on IBM, Digitaland Hewlett-Packard platforms. Consort has been a channel partnerwith Hewlett-Packard for years, dating back to Consort's workin the nuclear industry. There are 24 installations of ProgRIS,Ghavi said.

ProgRIS uses an X-Windows graphical user interface, which makesit uniquely suited to interfacing with image management systems,according to Ghavi. X-Windows users can simultaneously displayseveral images with corresponding patient information on the samecomputer monitor.

HP and Consort added PACS and teleradiology to the equationearlier this year by signing on OSW Medical Imaging Technologies,a small regional vendor based in Lakeland, FL. OSW has developedPC-based PACS products, including framegrabbers, DICOM interfaces,open-architecture CD-ROM jukeboxes and teleradiology systems.

Under the terms of the agreement between the companies, HPcustomers looking for integrated PACS/RIS solutions will be referredto Consort, which will bring OSW on board for the image managementportion of the installation. HP customers interested only in anRIS will be referred to Consort or one of HP's other RIS channelpartners.

The arrangement works well for all parties. OSW and Consortbenefit from access to HP's extensive sales and distribution reachand name recognition. HP, meanwhile, becomes one of the few companiesthat can offer an integrated PACS/RIS solution.

"They can put together an integrated information and imagemanagement system that addresses the full needs of a hospital,instead of just the needs of teleradiology or PACS or RIS,"said Mike Cannavo, president of Image Management Consultants inWinter Park, FL.

Consort began shipping systems with the OSW PACS componentabout four months ago, according to Ghavi. The association withOSW and Hewlett-Packard should help the company as it moves toexpand out of its current base in the southeastern U.S., he said.

"HP has always had an excellent reputation for reliableand well-engineered products," Ghavi said. "It givesus additional credibility, at least in the initial stages whereConsort's name is not well known."

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