Pacs Inc. revives fullView as MacPacs product offeringFirm takes over from IIE to market ultrasound miniPACSApple's Macintosh platform was for many years a staple in the PACS market. While some companies continue to offer Mac-based PACS
Firm takes over from IIE to market ultrasound miniPACS
Apple's Macintosh platform was for many years a staple in the PACS market. While some companies continue to offer Mac-based PACS software, that platform, along with Unix, has seen its market position eclipsed by PCs using Microsoft's Windows NT operating system.
At least one firm still believes in the power of Macintosh, however. Pacs Inc., a startup launched in January, markets MacPacs, an ultrasound miniPACS product line previously offered by International Imaging Electronics as fullView.
When IIE decided to discontinue offering fullView in late 1997, the system's original developer, John Elemans, launched Pacs Inc. Elemans has worked on fullView, and now MacPacs, for nine years.
The product line has been in clinical use in some form since 1990. It has been placed in nine installations, including a filmless site at Brooke Radiology in Burnaby, BC. Since Elemans launched Pacs Inc. in January, the North Vancouver, BC-based firm has installed MacPacs at Valley Medical Imaging in Clearbrook, BC.
Pacs Inc. is currently giving the MacPacs software free, preferring to generate revenue largely through service contracts. Down the road, however, Elemans hopes to sign on distributors for MacPacs in the U.S. and Canada, potentially with a company experienced at installing computer networks. An OEM agreement with an established medical imaging vendor could also be a possibility, he said.
Elemans believes the strength of MacPacs is its simplicity and speed. The user interface consists of only three buttons, which allow sonographers to open, review, and report a case.
"Radiologists typically don't require any training," Elemans said.
Image acquisition takes less than one second for most images, he said. Radiologists, sonographers, as well as clerical and typing staff can all have access to individual work lists on MacPacs.
The software also supports function keys for repetitive operations and can include reports and sonographer comments to facilitate a filmless and paperless operation, Elemans said. For hard-copy needs, MacPacs can print to laser printers, laser cameras, multiformat cameras, 35-mm cameras, thermal printers, and dye sublimation printers.
Typically employed in a two-monitor configuration, MacPacs can support one to four review monitors. It can view images in several formats. Additional monitors up to four can be added without cost or the need to configure the system, he said.
The MacPacs radiologist workstation is based on Apple's G3 CPU running at 333 MHz.
Teleradiology is also included in the package for no charge, and archiving is performed using CD-R media.
In future product plans, Pacs Inc. is developing an obstetrics package that allows users to track OB statistics for the patient. A DICOM-compliant reporting feature is in beta testing, and a DICOM gateway is also in development. In an interesting twist, the firm has also begun preliminary work on building an NT-based client for MacPacs.
"If there's a customer who really needed NT, we'd be happy to do it for them," Elemans said.