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QuickSilver sprints to prominencewith display station product launch


OEM ties give new company a head startQuickSilver Systems is showing how fast and far a few well-chosenOEM relationships and a wellspring of experience in medical imagingcan propel a new company. The San Jose, CA-based PACS component start-up

OEM ties give new company a head start

QuickSilver Systems is showing how fast and far a few well-chosenOEM relationships and a wellspring of experience in medical imagingcan propel a new company.

The San Jose, CA-based PACS component start-up introduced itselfat the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine show in March.The company traveled to San Francisco to promote Quick Read 2000,a work-in-progress display station. The firm impressed potentialcustomers with the quality of OEM deals signed even before filingits first 510(k) application with the Food and Drug Administration.QuickSilver plans to apply in late April or May.

Foremost among these freshly inked alliances is an OEM dealwith Fuji Medical Systems. Quick Read 2000 has been adapted asa key component in Fuji's FilmLink Remote Acquisition System (RAS).A schematic drawing of RAS showed QR 2000 (called Quick ReviewStation in Fuji marketing parlance) capturing images acquiredby Fuji/Lenzar framegrabbers and routing them to Fuji's networkprint server.

QuickSilver CEO Robert Wickizer and vice president of R&DSteve Mylroie helped Fuji develop RAS on a contract basis forthree years before locking into the OEM relationship through theirnewly formed company. OEM relationships are being negotiated withScitex and other companies to sell QuickSilver products.

Wickizer and Mylroie are the executives behind QuickSilver'srapid rise. Wickizer launched his career in the mid-1970s designingCT scanners for CT pioneer Artronix in St. Louis. In 1981, heorganized the company that developed the Missouri Automated RadiologySystem (MARS), one of the first radiology information systems.The company was sold in 1983 to ADAC Laboratories.

Wickizer later formed a partnership with Mylroie to handlea $5 million factory automation project for Samsung, a world leaderin computer memory fabrication. Software designed by Mylroie andmanaged by Wickizer included a real-time factory scheduling programthat controls several $700 million Korean manufacturing facilities,Wickizer said.

It was this experience that led Wickizer and Mylroie back tomedical imaging to see if they could apply their Korean experienceto radiology departments.

"We saw that the first thing we needed to do was to makethe radiologist more productive,'' Wickizer said.

To reach that objective, Wickizer and Mylroie set out to developthe simplest possible graphic framework to display the statusand distribution of imaging studies inside health-care institutions.

The operation of Quick Read 2000 revolves around a process-controlgraph display. Its bar-graph configuration gives the workstationoperator a fast and intuitive briefing on department status andimaging priority. Each bar on the graph represents a source ofimages. It can symbolize an ultrasound room, a specific imagingsystem or teleradiology.

Color coding discloses a system's status. White means the equipmentis in use. Yellow denotes that a study awaits interpretation.Green shows the scanner is available for the next patient, andred indicates the equipment is off-line.

Speed is another selling point. After accessing images drawnfrom framegrabbing technologies developed by Camtronics, Lenzar/Fujiand other vendors, radiologists can pull up a thumb-nail tileof 36 images from a current study to determine whether enoughdata have been acquired to justify the patient's release.

The system also accepts images from various types of magneto-opticaldrives. It supports the data exchange file format (DEFF) standardand will adapt to the emerging DICOM 3.0 removable media format,Wickizer said.

QR 2000 gains several design advantages from its status asan early adopter of Microsoft's Windows NT platform, Wickizersaid. They include a seamless interface with SQL Server, whichis a Sybase relational database sold by Microsoft. The associationwith Microsoft allows QuickSilver's OEMs to capitalize on thegiant software developer's remote diagnostics and software supportservices.

"OEM customers can use Microsoft's remote diagnostic toolsthat are integrated into QR 2000 to check for hardware inconsistenciesor software viruses. They can do inventories, download new softwareor do detailed performance analyses,'' Wickizer said.

QR 2000 is equipped with a sophisticated print management/printaudit trail system, according to Wickizer. Users can backtrackto document the exact conditions, format, filtering and printersetup of any study processed in the previous six months.

QR 2000 is also designed to interface with existing RIS packagesfor access to patient demographics, registration and scheduling,according to Wickizer.

"The operator can simply bolt on existing report-writertools to develop anything they want from our database,'' he said.

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