HP unveils first PACS archive at HIMSS conference

March 7, 2005

Hewlett-Packard, which has supported major PACS companies with its server and storage technology, has introduced its first imaging archive: the HP Medical Archiving Solution (MAS).

Hewlett-Packard, which has supported major PACS companies with its server and storage technology, has introduced its first imaging archive: the HP Medical Archiving Solution (MAS).

Presented last month at the Health Information and Management Systems Society conference in Dallas, MAS is designed to meet the needs of radiology practices at hospitals, imaging centers, and clinics. The overriding goal behind its development is to provide affordable long-term storage of patient studies regardless of file size.

The product gives physicians simultaneous and secure access to patient studies so as to support collaboration across medical facilities and departments.

"Medical images are not only growing in size, but the volume of information that is being digitized is growing geometrically," said Susan Van Ness, director of medical imaging solutions for HP. "This gives radiologists a unified storage archive that allows them to interface with multiple PACS and support access from multiple regional facilities."

HP also introduced at the HIMSS conference its Forms Automation System (FAS) 1.2, a digital "pen" technology that offers users the simplicity of a traditional pen and paper with the functionality and speed of the Internet. The system allows healthcare professionals to print forms on demand and collect patient data using standard paper and an HP digital pen, which automatically transmits medical records to a central electronic medical record system.

The company claims FAS reduces transaction costs to a quarter of their starting point while improving the quality of patient care by relieving healthcare professionals of administrative tasks.

"Fifty percent of hospital administrative costs are spent on data reentry," Van Ness said. "Forms automation allows use of a form factor that the user is comfortable with while allowing the capture of information as it's being written. When it's docked to a station, the information is populated into the clinical application."

The company's new archival product stores data on a high-availability system based on HP ProLiant servers, HP StorageWorks Modular Smart Arrays, and x86 processors. Users may set policies that control the storage devices and media to match organizational needs.

The archive gives physicians the ability to create a single repository for secure PACS applications. In essence, single hospitals, imaging clinics, or large hospitals can share their infrastructure to house image types used in different applications.

System features include:

  • on-demand scalability that allows the addition of storage nodes as image and file sizes increase

  • the ability to add storage devices to replace obsolete hardware without costly image migration

  • fast streaming that immediately paints an image on the screen

  • a unified storage archive that supports the archiving requirements of all vendor clinical applications

Marketing of the system, which can be scaled to sell for $150,000 to $500,000, has already begun. Van Ness said between 40 and 50 customers are in the pipeline. HP's chief competitor is EMC of Hopkinton, MA.

Van Ness said the new product is being marketed through several channels: HP direct sales, PACS vendors, the company's own consulting and integration organization, and global system integrators.