Realtimeimage Takes Teleradiology Into Wireless Territory

January 10, 2001

RealTimeImage has launched a mobile version of its iPACS "pixels-on-demand" image-streaming technology. iPACS Portable makes it possible to do real-time consultations in remote locations: field hospitals, rural clinics, ships at sea, ambulances, or

RealTimeImage has launched a mobile version of its iPACS "pixels-on-demand" image-streaming technology. iPACS Portable makes it possible to do real-time consultations in remote locations: field hospitals, rural clinics, ships at sea, ambulances, or medical evacuation helicopters.

iPACS Portable is designed to enable point-to-point streaming of medical images from a lightweight server to an individual reviewer over any wireless or wired Internet connection. Using iPACS Portable in conjunction with a portable ultrasound, CR, or other image-acquisition system, a physician at a hospital or other location can view and interpret diagnostic-quality images streamed from a wireless-enabled PC or laptop server in the field.

Images are available to the physician on the receiving end via a unique IP address assigned to the remote computer. The physician can access the images from a PC or workstation via the Internet and view the images in real-time, even providing real-time consultation over a separate phone line.

"We have developed a way of changing how patients can be dealt with on a real-time basis," said Gene Rubel, vice president of medical imaging for RTI. "We separate how the image is acquired from the way it is reviewed."

RTI introduced iPACS at the 1999 RSNA meeting. The Web server is designed to enable personnel to access and view diagnostic images in near-real-time over the Internet or LAN connections on a standard PC or workstation. iPACS incorporates RTI's proprietary pixels-on-demand technology, which uses a wavelet-based processing algorithm to generate partial spatial transforms of areas of interest in an image.

The iPACS server can open any local image, even gigabyte-sized images. Remote users can then view and manipulate the images over TCP/IP networks in real-time.

RTI claims that its "streaming by quality" approach sets it apart from other Web-based image-distribution products, such as Stentor's iSyntax and Image Medical's Practice Builder. The streaming by quality approach eliminates the need for preprocessing or separate archives, making the most important part of each image available for viewing first. Additional data behind the displayed image is "painted in," allowing users to gain a snapshot (20%) of the requested image in three to four seconds, while other detail transmits in the background.

"Because you always have access to the original image, you don't have to process the image in advance," Rubel said. "Diagnostic-quality data are always available with a pixel-for-pixel replication of the original image."

RTI is actively seeking partners to bundle iPACS Portable with modality devices such as ultrasound and MR. The company recently signed a licensing agreement with Kodak to incorporate RTI's pixels-on-demand technology into Kodak's Distributed Medical Imaging systems and has formed a partnership with InSite One, a provider of long-term offsite archiving for digital images.