Firms join videoconferencing with imagingIntel, the company best known for the Pentium computer chip, hasjoined with Radiology Telenetwork International (RTI) of Toronto,Canada, to introduce a low-cost image management system that
Intel, the company best known for the Pentium computer chip, hasjoined with Radiology Telenetwork International (RTI) of Toronto,Canada, to introduce a low-cost image management system that wrapstelemedicine and PACS functions into a neat little package operatedon a personal computer.
The product, shown at the 1994 Radiological Society of NorthAmerica show, was derived from the marriage of Intel's Proshareteleconferencing system designed for general business applicationsand an RTI interface developed specifically for medical imaging.Dr. Roger Stronell, a radiologist and RTI founder, met with Intelofficials in early summer to alert them to the sales potentialof Proshare in radiology.
He was surprised how quickly his idea was converted into aworking product after Intel signed on to the project.
"The relationship has brought us from a standing startwhere there was no application six months ago to something thatis a major step forward," Stronell said.
When combined with RTI software, Intel's Proshare has the abilityto transmit gray-scale images, color images or cine loops fromany digital modality over a local area network (LAN) or ISDN-capablephone lines, according to Gary Raetz, an Intel consultant. Single-sliceMRI images can be transmitted in about 10 seconds over an ISDNconnection. An ultrasound image can be captured by a personalcomputer at a remote site in about four seconds.
Anatomical images are shown on the monitor along with two separatewindows that provide real-time video displays of the two individualsconducting the consultation. Their images are captured by miniaturecameras mounted on the screens. The video operates at about 15frames per second while voice communications are handled overa standard telephone line.
Several annotation tools aid consultation. They include a mouse-guidedpointer and electronic circles and squares that enable a radiologistto draw a colleague's attention to specific points of interest.It also features an electronic note pad for writing or drawingon the transmitted image.
A patient information reporting component expands Proshare'scapabilities. A patient software file written in WordPerfect forWindows transmits patient demographics and the radiologist's reportfrom site to site. Archiving is possible by storing images, demographicsand reports on hard disk for short-term storage. The data aredownloaded to CD-ROM disks for long-term archiving.
Beta testing was completed in 1994 at a Toronto-based clinic,where a LAN file server distributed images transmitted on Proshareto seven radiologist workstations linked to a file server, accordingto Stronell. He notes that Proshare actually refers to Intel'sgeneric teleconferencing products. RTI is selling Intel Prosharealong with its interface for use in the medical imaging market.
Proshare operates on any Intel Pentium-equipped personal computerusing a Microsoft Windows operating system. The list price ofIntel Proshare is as low as $12,000 for the PC, micro-camera,document scanner, electronic writing tablet and RTI interface.