Philips elevates PACS to role of digital facilitator

November 16, 2006

Philips Medical Systems is evolving the concept of PACS to a three-dimensional plane. The Dutch company plans to feature its iSite PACS as common ground for bringing together its digital imaging technologies at the RSNA meeting.

Philips Medical Systems is evolving the concept of PACS to a three-dimensional plane. The Dutch company plans to feature its iSite PACS as common ground for bringing together its digital imaging technologies at the RSNA meeting.

Arguably, this has been the goal of PACS from the beginning. But over the years other functions of PACS have taken priority, as these systems have been defined in terms of archiving and transmitting data, not connecting modalities.

"Interfacing and networking will kill you as you move into digital technologies," said Scott Burkhart, vice president of Philips general x-ray. "What we are doing is taking that out of the equation and making sure all our stuff is seamless."

The spur for this move came from the x-ray side of the business. Philips, like GE, Toshiba, and other vendors, is taking digital radiography into three dimensions, as rotational studies are providing the foundation for volumetric reconstructions.

Last year Philips introduced the MultiDiagnost Eleva R/F (radiography/fluoroscopy) system, capable of doing 180° scans. The C-arm-based product was configured with a 3D workstation to reconstruct the data. This year the company wants to take these acquisitions into the multimodality arena via iSite.

"We will be able to take a general x-ray 3D image and compare it to a 3D CT image and compare that to 3D MR imaging," Burkhart said.

This unification of the 3D world will improve workflow by melding digital modalities. The tool for doing so is a PACS component called iSyntax, which sends requested data from the iSite PACS to viewers on the network.

"It pushes out as much information as you need to see," he said. "It makes the deployment of medical imagery much more seamless and fluid."

This communications platform has the potential to transform the digital workspace into an environment that can accept a multimodality view of medicine, according to Burkhart.

"Once they make the mental shift from 2D to 3D, nobody will want to go back," he said.