Arguably, at no other time in RSNA history has information technology (IT) infiltrated radiology departments - and the whole healthcare enterprise - as it did in 2003. Providers more and more are grappling with the escalating volume of electronic patient data and access to that information from within and outside of the traditional hospital setting.
With facilities of all sizes still keeping close watch on budget limitations, healthcare providers are looking to IT to make two plus two equal five when it comes to meeting today's challenge of quality patient care.
A November report from Sheldon I. Dorenfest & Associates Ltd. estimated the healthcare industry's demand for information technology (IT) increased to $23.6 billion in 2003, compared with $21.6 billion in 2002. The study also predicts the healthcare IT market will maintain its 9 percent growth rate for the next three years, with spending reaching $30.5 billion by the end of 2006.
RIS and PACS
On the exhibit floor at RSNA 2003, GE Medical Systems Informational Technologies (GEMSIT) introduced a new version of its Centricity RIS-PACS to enhance the management of images and information, including radiology and cardiology images in the single integrated system.
The updated Centricity RIS-PACS follows version 2.0, which includes image and workflow support for PET-CT and digital mammography images. The system also provides next-generation reporting capabilities for radiologists.
GEMSIT also unveiled a new version of Centricity Enterprise Web, which allows for the sharing of radiology and cardiology images and report and waveform data among healthcare network providers, remote specialists and referring physicians. With the web technology, Centricity Enterprise can be connected to an electronic medical record system. The new system also integrates with the next-generation CA1000 Centricity Cardiology review workstation.
BRIT Systems also offers its ASP (application service provider) eRadFiles for off-site support of teleradiology and PACS for disaster recovery for all DICOM PACS installations. Using Brit's DICOM Mini-Server, exams are acquired, compressed and transmitted over secure connections to the eRadFiles center.
Brit's Scanning Workbench is a film digitization system that allows standard radiographs to be converted into electronic images for transmission to PACS and teleradiology systems. The Scanning Workbench is configurable with either a Kodak laser-based digitizer or a CCD-based digitizer from Vidar Systems.
Image management firm Brit Systems displayed its Roentgen Files for exam and report storage. It runs on a DICOM server and Web server. The company's Roentgen RIS adds a new scheduling component to its list of features.
Eastman Kodak Co.'s DirectView PACS System 5 made its RSNA debut following its August release. As of RSNA 2003, the technology was installed in more than a dozen sites in the United States and Europe.
Kodak already is planning the release of System 5.1 in the first half of 2004, while features for System 5.2 are in the works. System 5.1's software upgrade will add tissue definition and vessel tracking, single log-in, and fully integrated 3D processing capabilities. System 5.2 is expected to offer volume rendering to the PACS' repertoire, along with support for current works-in-progress digital mammography. Kodak has not announced a release date for System 5.2.
To complement Kodak's PACS is DirectView Versatile Intelligent Patient Archive (VIParchive), which helps manage a facility's PACS and cardiology storage needs. It also can be used for enterprise-wide management of DICOM and non-DICOM images and information across multiple storage devices and locations. VIParchive is available as an option on DirectView PACS System 5.1.
Kodak also will launch its RIS 2010 in the United States in the second half of 2004. The radiology information system counts more than 70 installations in Europe and Australia, as of RSNA 2003.
RIS 2010 can support wireless PDA-based dictation, among other features, and integrate with PACS from Kodak and other vendors. Its open architecture also allows for interface with other information systems.
Siemens Medical Solutions touted the depth of its image management portfolio, showcasing RIS-PACS integration with the SIENET Integrated Radiology Suite that unites NOVIUS Radiology RIS and SIENET PACS, as well as the SOARIAN EMR/workflow engine.
NOVIUS Radiology is a fully featured,