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Proliferation of three-dimensional medical image processing systemswill accelerate over the next several years (see graph). A primeforce driving 3-D medical imaging is the growing processing powerand open-system architecture of medical workstations,
Proliferation of three-dimensional medical image processing systemswill accelerate over the next several years (see graph). A primeforce driving 3-D medical imaging is the growing processing powerand open-system architecture of medical workstations, accordingto Gary Reed, a medical imaging consultant.
Use of open-system computers and networks reduces the costof image processing and handling. This spurs clinical and administrativedemand, he said.
"The advantages (of open systems) are efficiency and easeof use. You have to cost-justify everything in the imaging department,"Reed said.
Reed's firm, Integration Resources of Lebanon, NJ, publishedthe 1991 3D/MPR Market Report last month.
Many 3-D medical imaging developers remain focused on hardwareas well as software development. Problems in developing and upgradingproprietary computer platforms have kept high-end 3-D companiesfrom breaking even, he said.
ISG Technologies is the only dedicated 3-D firm that is consistentlyprofitable, said Reed, who consults for ISG as well as other 3-Dfirms.
Cemax abandoned its hardware business last year to develop3-D software for use on Sun workstations (SCAN 8/15/90). Thatstrategy has not resulted in consistent profits, he said.
While Sun has been active in the medical market for some time,the introduction of the vendor's more powerful SPARC II microprocessorthis year is only now making that workstation practical in termsof clinical 3-D work, he said.
Hewlett-Packard workstations are also strong in the medical3-D market. IBM's RS/6000 unit is making strides in 3-D, but needsmore development in this area, Reed said.
Additional clinical software applications need to be developedif the overall 3-D market is to take off. While Medicare reimbursesfor 3-D CT and MRI work, 3-D companies must document the clinicaladvantages of more applications to convince the Health Care FinancingAdministration to develop additional 3-D reimbursement codes,he said.
Demand for 3-D continues to be fueled by referring physiciansrather than radiologists, he said.
"Radiologists are in a service business," Reed said."They have to wake up (to the advantages of 3-D processing)or the referring physicians will start doing it themselves,"he said.
Under the agreement, GE will have access to all current 3Mlaser technology as well as high-speed multimodality imagers underdevelopment by 3M.
This distribution arrangement is the first major internationalstep for Genesys, said president Mike Kerouac.
The sale is the largest ever of speech-controlled medical reportingsystems, said Bernard F. Bradstreet, Kurzweil president.