NT, Web technology highlight RSNA exhibitsDVD archives and flat panels also to be displayed by some firms In the past several years, the Radiological Society of North America meeting has been dominated by digital image management
DVD archives and flat panels also to be displayed by some firms
In the past several years, the Radiological Society of North America meeting has been dominated by digital image management technology. Driven by heightened levels of market interest, PACS will likely again be a prime focus of attention for both vendors and end users alike.
Last year's trends will be in evidence again this year. The use of Windows NT continues to grow in popularity, particularly at the workstation level. Nearly all PACS companies now have available NT versions of their offerings or plan to release them in early 1999.
The application of Java and World Wide Web protocols to enable distribution of images and reports to referring physicians continues to grow in prominence, although these systems are still in the early stage of adoption by customers. Many PACS firms are also highlighting their systems integration capabilities, and healthcare information systems vendors continue to increase their involvement in the PACS sector.
Commercialization of several new digital radiography systems from companies such as Sterling Diagnostic Imaging, GE Medical Systems, Canon, Swissray International, and others is also driving customer interest in large-scale PACS networks. Those systems, as well as traditional computed radiography readers sold by Fuji, Agfa, and others, show promise for bringing conventional radiography images into PACS networks.
In another interesting development, several companies, such as dpiX, will demonstrate flat-panel displays for use in PACS environments. Some industry observers believe that the displays could confer substantial benefits to PACS users, including longer usable life and smaller footprints.
Progress in bringing digital versatile disks (DVD) to PACS will be on display, with a few firms set to display DVD libraries at the show. Speech recognition technology also continues to develop, and many PACS firms will display integration of those products into their own offerings.
Among specific vendor developments, Access Radiology will introduce a Windows NT-based version of its Advanced Compression Server (ACS). The new version, which will be available at the RSNA meeting, features a number of enhancements, including faster image compression/decompression, enhanced routing capabilities, and an improved graphical user interface, according to the Lexington, MA-based firm.
Acuson will highlight its new Windows NT-based workstation for the Aegis ultrasound miniPACS offering. The new workstation offers a number of enhancements, including substantially improved speed as well as the ability to generate final reports online, according to the Mountain View, CA-based ultrasound company.
Agfa will unveil version 4.0 of its Impax PACS offering, which adds Windows NT versions of its workstation software to the product line. The Ridgefield Park, NJ-based company will continue to provide Sun Solaris-based workstations, and the firm's servers remain on the Sun Solaris platform. Impax 4.0 also incorporates all the product improvement plan requirements stipulated by the Department of Defense for its Digital Imaging Network-Picture Archiving and Communications Systems (DIN-PACS) project.
ALI Technologies will highlight version 4.0 of its UltraPACS ultrasound miniPACS product line (see story, page 6).
Dutch PACS company Applicare Medical Imaging will highlight RadWorks 4.0, the latest version of the firm's workstation software. It includes functionality such as a quality-control module, a multiplanar reformat (MPR)/maximum intensity projection module, and the WebViewer Web-based image viewing product. The company also will display a work-in-progress, software-only archive offering based on Windows NT.
AutocytGroup, which changed its name to Amicas in October (PNN 10/98), will introduce Amicas Personal, a version of its Amicas Web-based offering designed for on-call teleradiology applications. In other developments, the Watertown, MA-based company will show integration work of Amicas with RIS companies as well as with electronic patient-record systems.
Brit Systems will debut a high-end Windows NT-based 2K x 2.5K-resolution workstation. Availability is expected in the first quarter of 1999, according to the Dallas, TX-based firm. The firm has added DICOM modality work list support to its offerings.
Data General and MarkCare Medical Systems will share a booth again at this year's show. A Web-based offering that will allow users access to images, requisitions, and reports will take the spotlight.
As part of its shift from a PACS component supplier into a full-fledged PACS provider, DeJarnette Research Systems will introduce several new offerings. MediShare IQ serves as the database manager for the Towson, MD-based company's PACS products, while NetShare IQ connects modalities to DICOM networks. The company will also debut an archive offering and teleradiology and desktop versions of its VisiShare line of workstation software.
DR Systems will debut a Windows NT-based version of its Dominator workstation software. The new version also includes voice recognition capability and can support two to four monitors. The San Diego company is also introducing a new version of its Assimilator image distribution offering for referring physicians.
Eastman Kodak will display several enhancements to its medical viewing stations. In Web developments, the Rochester, NY-based company will showcase the Kodak Digital Science 100 medical image server and two versions of Web viewing software. Kodak has also upgraded its medical image and information archive offerings, adding some compression capabilities and a work flow module. The company's acquisition of Imation Cemax-Icon is nearing closure. The necessary regulatory approvals have been secured in the U.S. and Europe, and the two companies were working on the official closing at press time.
EMED of San Antonio, TX, will introduce a DICOM-to-home viewer, which allows users to accept DICOM image transfers from the hospital's PACS or modality network over phone lines.
After demonstrating two computed radiography workstations at last year's meeting, Fuji Medical Systems U.S.A. will roll out the rest of its Windows NT-based Synapse workstation software, as well as servers and storage devices, according to the Stamford, CT-based company.
Windows NT-based workstations are sure to be prominent in GE Medical Systems' booth. The Milwaukee, WI-based firm received Food and Drug Administration 510(k) clearance for its NT-based line of diagnostic and clinical review stations in August (PNN 9/98).
Imation Cemax-Icon will unveil AutoRad NT, a diagnostic workstation based on the popular Windows NT platform. AutoRad NT, which is expected to begin shipping in the first quarter of 1999, includes a number of enhancements such as automatic hanging protocols and the ability to view multimodality images on the same monitor. The company has incorporated Java technology into its archive and added connectivity capabilities with radiology information systems.
HBO & Company's acquisition of Imnet Systems has closed, and the company's MedVision PACS line will be displayed in HBO's booth. OEM supplier ISG Technologies will introduce VR SoftView Suite 3.1, an NT-based workstation software suite that adds capabilities such as speech recognition and the integration of reports and images. In addition, the upgrade allows physicians to be paged as soon as the study is ready to be reviewed, according to the Mississauga, Ontario-based firm.
In archiving developments, ISG will debut VR SoftStore 2.1, which enhances the scalability of the archive and adds support for media such as CD-R, magneto-optical disk, and digital linear tape. It can perform image prefetching and can also be equipped with a Web server module.
Konica Medical will debut a scalable DICOM-based archive solution based on CD-ROM storage media. The Wayne, NJ-based company will also display several new versions of its workstation software.
Line Imaging Systems of Atlanta will introduce a number of enhancements to its NT-based WinRad teleradiology workstation. Wavelet compression algorithms developed by Line have been added, as has DICOM printing capability.
Medasys Digital Systems, which merged with HIS company Citation Computer Systems in September (PNN 9/98), will show its Dx Multimodality PACS offering in concert with C-RIS radiology information system from Citation as part of the Miami-based company's electronic patient record concept.
Medweb appears ready to discuss its development work with DVD archives. The San Francisco company has scheduled a news conference at the show to discuss DVD as well as a secure PACS gateway for remote offices and clinics.
Merge Technologies will be introducing a report manager offering, a plug-in module that will allow users to manage intranet and extranet distribution of images and reports. In addition, Merge has added DICOM work list management capability to its MergeMVP connectivity product.
Olicon Imaging Systems of Aliso Viejo, CA has enhanced its product integration effort with partner SMS, and has focused company efforts on its OEM distribution channels (see story, page 5).
Philips Medical Systems will show a number of new capabilities for its PACS offering, including integrated voice recognition software on workstations. The Shelton, CT-based company will also show a Web browser built into its PACS network.
Picker International will demonstrate version 3.0 of its JPACS/Remote offering, the basic module in the company's Java-based PACS offering. The new release brings autorouting capabilities and the ability to push images to another destination. It also includes faster CR rendering, user interface updates, multiple series/study viewing, and user-specified window/level presets, according to the Cleveland company.
Rogan Medical Systems will unveil DVD archiving technology, which will be able to store four times as much image data as a similarly sized CD jukebox. Rogan plans to exhibit a 150-slot DVD jukebox at the show, and expects to release DVD archives this year. The Pewaukee, WI-based firm will also introduce an upgrade to its HyperNET product line that will increase network speeds from 100 megabits per second to one gigabit per second.
Siemens Medical Systems will feature the networked radiology department as the theme for its booth this year. Specific PACS applications to be displayed include neuroradiology, emergency-room radiology, and enterprise PACS. The company's enterprise PACS concept can employ Java-based viewers that obviate the need for specialized workstations outside the radiology department. An enhanced work flow manager package will also be displayed, and the Iselin, NJ-based company will highlight a three-tier archiving architecture that includes DVD storage media (PNN 11/98). Flat-panel display workstations will be shown as well.
Sterling Diagnostic Imaging will show an interface that adds DICOM work list management capabilities to its integrated PACS and iiRad digital radiography efforts. In addition, the Greenville, SC-based company will launch iiServ, a service offering for customers of integrated imaging networks, including digital radiography products, PACS technology, and printers.
StorComm will display its real-time ultrasound monitoring capability, which allows physicians to remotely monitor ultrasound scans in progress over a PACS network. The Jacksonville, FL-based firm will also show ImageAccess WebView, an addition to its server that allows users to access appropriate clinical information such as reports, audio, and images with a standard Web browser.