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Imageon introduces toolkit for Java-based DICOM support


Startup to market toolkit to end-users, OEMs Internet and Web-based software development tools like Java and CORBA (common object request broker architecture) offer much potential for improving the performance and breadth of PACS networks.

Startup to market toolkit to end-users, OEMs

Internet and Web-based software development tools like Java and CORBA (common object request broker architecture) offer much potential for improving the performance and breadth of PACS networks. These technologies can also now aid in the development of DICOM-compliant software applications.

Startup Imageon Solutions has introduced Java DICOM Development Kit, a Java library and toolkit that provides full support for DICOM 3.0 and its operations, according to the Birmingham, AL-based company. JDDK was originally developed as part of a desktop clinical-applications solution for the University of Alabama Birmingham Medical Center.

During that project, Imageon president Gary York developed a Java-based DICOM library that can interact with existing commercial archives without converting the images into TIFF, JPEG, or other forms. Imageon, which was founded in 1998, has since licensed the UAB technology and is applying it to a line of commercial Java-based DICOM development products.

“Many companies in the medical imaging community are looking at using Java for imaging applications, but they are using libraries developed five or six years ago (that) don’t take advantage of object-oriented technology and are hard to modify and adapt,” York said. “We felt there were significant advantages to developing a library in Java using the object-oriented approach.”

For example, JDDK has a high-level interface for supporting DICOM that handles all the low-level details of DICOM communication for users. Hiding the complexities of DICOM makes it easier to develop applications without having to understand all the idiosyncrasies of the DICOM standard, according to York. Thus, using JDDK, code can be written more easily and efficiently; users need write only 100 lines of code to create a particular type of application, versus 1000 lines of code needed to create the same application using another toolkit. In addition, because JDDK is 100% Java, it has the advantage of portability and platform independence.

JDDK is initially being marketed to hospitals, medical centers, and radiology groups who are looking for strategic advantages through applications developed in-house. PACS and electronic patient record (EPR) vendors developing products to handle DICOM images are also potential users of the toolkit, according to York.

In all cases, Imageon is licensing JDDK. For OEMs, the license agreement is based on volume and the type of product being developed, while for individual users, it’s based on the number of machines on which JDDK is deployed. Single-machine licenses are $250 to $350/client, server licenses are $750 to $950, and OEM licenses are custom agreements with varying prices. JDDK is already in use at several universities, including Northwestern University in Chicago, where the radiology department’s Imaging Informatics Laboratory is using the toolkit in several research projects.

JDDK is the first commercially available component of Imageon’s Java-based product line. Other products the company plans to introduce in the near future include Clinical Viewer, a desktop system that runs on Windows and Unix platforms using CORBA technology and is intended for such image-intensive users as cardiologists, neurosurgeons, and general surgeons. Another product is Java DICOM Archive, a low-cost, software-only product that uses efficient image-streaming technology to store and retrieve images using DICOM protocols. The archive will be available this summer, while the viewer is awaiting Food and Drug Administration 510(k) clearance.

© 1999 Miller Freeman, Inc.All rights reserved.

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