Siemens grows capabilities of MagicView 50 teleradiologyNew packages allow ISDN lines to handle image, voice, and other dataThe near-immediate availability of images to referring physicians is one of the most touted benefits of PACS and
New packages allow ISDN lines to handle image, voice, and other data
The near-immediate availability of images to referring physicians is one of the most touted benefits of PACS and teleradiology technology. For small referring-physician offices, however, installing a separate ISDN line just to handle images can be an expensive proposition.
To address this tricky cost-justification issue, Siemens Medical Systems has unveiled three new teleradiology packages that incorporate an ISDN switch for small offices. The switch was developed by fellow Siemens division Siemens Business Communications and allows referring physicians to use ISDN lines to handle images, voice, and other data. The company's Windows NT or Windows 95-based MagicView 50 teleradiology workstation can connect directly with the switch, called OfficePoint, to access images. Phone calls and images can be taken simultaneously, according to the Iselin, NJ-based company.
An average referring physician's office employs 12 to 15 analog telephone lines, which are typically paid for individually, according to Siemens. By employing OfficePoint, offices can take out the analog lines, realize the benefits of a digital phone service, and achieve financial payback within 18 months, said David Armour, marketing manager for healthcare information technologies.
OfficePoint can support up to 16 ISDN telephones, four analog devices such as faxes and modems, and up to four digital devices for uses such as Internet access. An expanded version of OfficePoint that will handle more lines will be available in 1998.
Siemens has applied the technology in its Group Practice, Enterprise Teleradiology Network, and Physicians On Call packages, which are all available now. The Physicians On Call application allows physicians receiving images at home to make more efficient use of an ISDN line, Armour said.
"You can use it as a regular voice telephone during the day, and at night if you're on call and you need to review a case, you can receive either data or images," he said. "Now you have the broader bandwidth with which to do that."
A package that includes a MagicView server, eight ISDN telephones, and the OfficePoint switch costs around $50,000. Each additional office to be linked runs between $6000 to $7000. The Physicians On Call package would cost $35,000 for the MagicView server and approximately $1000 for each physician's home.
In other Siemens PACS news, the company has begun shipping its Sienet PACS VA31 software release (PNN 6/97). VA31 includes a number of features designed to optimize radiology department work flow, according to the company.
The release features multimedia reporting capability, which allows radiologists to annotate an image with graphics and spoken commentary. Other capabilities include rule-based prefetching and autorouting, as well as a work-flow engine that works with the HIS/RIS interface to transfer images and information to appropriate locations, according to the company. Users can also program macros to perform a series of tasks with a single mouse click.