QR 2000 manages ultrasound department work flowLumisys expanded the scope of its product offerings this monthwith the acquisition of QuickSilver Systems, a San Jose, CA, firmthat is developing an ultrasound review station. The move is abit of a
Lumisys expanded the scope of its product offerings this monthwith the acquisition of QuickSilver Systems, a San Jose, CA, firmthat is developing an ultrasound review station. The move is abit of a departure for Lumisys, which manufactures x-ray filmdigitizers, but it fits the company's overall mission of offeringproducts that help radiology departments improve their productivity,according to John Burgess, vice president of sales and marketing.
QuickSilver appeared on the ultrasound scene at last year'sAmerican Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine meeting with QuickRead 2000, a work-in-progress display station designed to helpusers manage work flow in their ultrasound departments (SCAN 4/26/95).
The Windows NT-based system routes images from up to nine individualultrasound rooms to the review station, where they can be viewedby a radiologist to determine whether the sonographer has collectedenough images to release the patient. Bar graphs indicate thestatus of an ultrasound exam room, such as whether it is emptyor occupied with an exam in progress. QR 2000 can also archiveimages or send them to a print spooler.
QuickSilver executives have emphasized that QR 2000 is notan ultrasound image management system à la Acuson's Aegisor ATL's Access systems, as it lacks image processing capabilityand uses a simple VGA display. QR 2000 could be linked to an imagemanagement workstation, however, Burgess said.
"We are not promoting it as an imaging workstation, onlyas a review station," he said. "It could theoreticallybe interfaced into a PACS or miniPACS or any type of informationor image management system, if you wanted to use it for imagedistribution or image archiving on a long-term basis."
Despite the benefits of the system, QuickSilver was a smallcompany, with only three full-time employees and one part-timeworker, and did not have the resources to move QR 2000 to marketas quickly as it could with the backing of Lumisys, accordingto Burgess. Lumisys has relocated QuickSilver's workers to itsheadquarters, based in nearby Sunnyvale, CA, and should be readyto launch QR 2000 in the next 60 to 90 days. Lumisys did not releasethe financial terms of the acquisition.
Lumisys will market QR 2000 through OEMs, as it does with itsexisting film digitizer product line. Potential partners couldinclude PACS companies or laser printer vendors, according toBurgess.
"Manufacturers of laser printers would like this productbecause it would provide a way of getting more ultrasound imagesinto a laser printer for centralized printing, as opposed to eachultrasound system having a video-based formatter," he said.
Lumisys acquired QuickSilver because the vendor recognizesthe need to diversify out of the laser-based x-ray digitizationsegment to grow in the long term. Lumisys last year bought X-RayScanner Corp., a CCD-based film digitizer firm, and Imagraph,a video framegrabber developer (SCAN 3/29/95). It also boughtteleradiology demonstration software from JD Technical Servicesearlier this year.
"Lumisys needs to continue adding to its product line,it needs to continue diversifying," Burgess said. "Weneed to continue our growth, and we cannot depend on strictlyinternal developments to fuel that growth."
This business plan is apparently working. Lumisys reportedstrong sales and earnings for its most recent quarter (end-March),with sales for the period more than doubling, to $5.1 millionfrom $2.4 million the year before. Some of that increase was dueto the XRS and Imagraph acquisitions, Burgess said, but salesfor its traditional laser-based film scanner line were up 46%.Lumisys posted net income of $722,000 for the quarter, comparedwith a net loss of $1 million in the corresponding period a yearago.
The company's performance has been rewarded by the stock market.Since going public last year, Lumisys has seen its stock pricerise to $23 a share last week after opening at about $7 a sharein November.