AHRA Preview
hiit040707The 34th annual AHRA meeting and exposition kicks off July 30th and runs through Aug. 3rd in what we can only expect will be a sizzling hot Las Vegas. Stay indoors in the air conditioning and take part in some of the special events the organization has planned such as presentations on imaging informatics. Among the many educational sessions at AHRA, the organization’s Leadership Institute will again hold its Basic Management Program which is targeted at imaging professionals that are taking on new responsibilities within their organizations. For details, visit ahraonline.org.

AHRA 2006 also will feature over 170 vendor exhibits that run the gamut in imaging-related products from ergonomic workstation tables to PACS to CR systems, and more and more. Here you’ll find a preview of what you have in store for you at the exhibit hall this year.

Anthro Corp. (Booth #335) is highlighting the latest product in its Elevate Electric Lift Table family, the ELT Wrap. Suitable for PACS workstations, the shelf height is easily adjusted with the touch of a button, and the keyboard shelf has a manual tilt adjustment. The curved main surface will house up to four PACS flat-panel monitors, (typically 2 PACS monitors, a RIS monitor, and possibly an x-ray viewer,) to make the most of available space, and keep everything within easy reach. By touching the electric keypad, the Wrap surface electrically raises and lowers with a range as low as 27 inches and up to 53 inches high. The ELT Wrap’s large 34 inch wide by 21 inch deep keyboard shelf is attached to the underside of the curved surface. Additionally, it manually tilts 5 degrees negative and 15 degrees positive for additional comfort.

The silver-colored frame of the table is composed of 16-gauge steel, and the electrical in each leg assembly is UL tested and approved. Cables from equipment can be routed through the optional cable channel. For PACS applications, the transformers for the PACS monitors fit inside the cable trough so they’re hidden and out of the way. Flat-panel PACS monitors gain additional flexibility with Flat Panel Monitor Arm accessories, which raise and move them for the optimal viewing angle.

At AHRA, aycan Medical Systems (Booth #248) is showcasing its xray-print product that combines the company’s software with Xerox Workgroup laser printers to enable users to produce medical images on plain paper at very high, near diagnostic quality. Using this product can save customers 90 percent of the cost of traditional film printers, the company said. The aycan system is compatible with traditional and also PACS workflow using the DICOM 3.0 standard.

Canon Medical Systems (Booth #700) is demonstrating its DR-related products, including its latest lightweight portable DR systems — the Canon CXDI-50C. The system serves a broad range of radiographic applications, including trauma, ICU and bedside exams. The large 14 inch by 17 inch imaging area and portable design — just under an inch thick (0.9 inches) and weighing only 10.6 lbs — allow the Canon CXDI-50C DR system to be especially useful with patients who have limited mobility and for capturing images at angles that are difficult to set with fixed devices. 

Featuring proprietary, advanced Canon LANMIT (Large Area New-MIS Sensor and TFT) detector technology, the Canon CXDI-50C DR system delivers high-quality diagnostic images efficiently with minimal x-ray exposure to patients, making it suited for pediatric and orthopedic use. This new portable DR system consists of a Canon Amorphous Silicon (a-Si) flat panel detector and a Cesium Iodide (CsI) scintillator, allowing for extremely effective x-ray absorption and high signal-to-noise performance.

Codonics (Booth #611) is exhibiting its just-released Virtua Medical Disc Publisher, a network-based peripheral, records and labels diagnostic studies onto CD and DVD media for the referring physician that is now available for sale. Although each device can stand alone, when used in combination, the Horizon Multi-media Imager and Codonics Virtua provide a comprehensive, economical image documentation system.

DatCard Systems (Booth #307) is showcasing its recently released MammoSmart that provides women with their complete mammography history and breast care information on an automatically produced CD-R/DVD-R. Each disc contains a large amount of educational patient information such as medical history, digital mammography images, glossary of terms, answers to frequently asked questions, live video capture, personal demographics and insurance information, the company said.

MammoSmart is able to integrate with hospital registration, PACS and RIS/mammography systems. The product also allows facilities to quickly and easily design the look, feel and content of their CDs/DVDs, enabling them to determine what information is of most value to their patients.

Double Black Imaging (Booth #321) is announcing the release of several new products. First up is DICOMetrix, a new proactive DICOM image flow and network performance monitoring system that enables PACS administrators, directors and IT personnel to actively monitor, historically track system performance, and alert radiology and PACS support staff about system slow-downs and outages. The early warning system proactively tracks DICOM image flow and network problems. 

Also at the show is a 45-inch high-brightness, high contrast color LCD designed for the operating room and ER environments. This LCD has full 1920 x 1080 resolution, 500 cd/m2 brightness and a contrast ratio of 800:1. It includes a rugged metal enclosure with dual cooling fans.
DBI also is showing a 3 Megapixel Color high-bright LCD with retractable front sensors for auto-calibration. This color LCD will join the current M-Series line consisting of 2MP Color, 2MP Monochrome, 3MP Monochrome and 5MP Monochrome LCDs with retractable front sensors and a comprehensive software package for auto-calibration.

Dynamic Imaging (Booth #928) is demonstrating the latest IntegradWeb PACS software, Version 3.5, as well as showcasing its Boost customer marketing program for customers in both ambulatory and acute care practices. Boost includes 150 customized sets of professional-grade marketing materials specifically targeted to increase referrals from referring physicians and their affiliated group practices. Upon request, existing customers also may receive the benefits of Boost with 25 free customized sets of marketing materials.

Eastman Kodak Co. (Booth #706) is unveiling an integrated portable x-ray/CR system for mobile applications. The compact new KODAK Point-of-Care CR-ITX 560 System is designed to deliver efficient workflow and productivity for facilities that need responsive bedside imaging. Images are available for review in 38 seconds on the system’s touch screen monitor. The unit has HIS/RIS compatibility for the automatic insertion of patient information and features an integrated user interface for x-ray and CR functions. It is designed for use by intensive care units, clinics, nursing homes and hospitals of every size.

FUJIFILM Medical Systems USA (Booth #100) is highlighting details of its computed radiography for mammography (FCRm), a full-field digital mammography system for which the company in May received an approvalable letter from the PDA. Fuji’s CR for mammography does not require replacing the existing mammography acquisition unit. Additionally, the FCRm reader will provide multi-purpose capability for both mammography and general radiography exams, delivering significant cost savings for sites that perform both exams.

Fuji also is showcasing the three computed radiography (CR) systems it introduced in late 2005: 2 FCR Carbon models and the FCR ClearView-1. FCR Carbon is a small, full-featured CR system. The Carbon XL model is ideal for small to medium sized facilities, while the Carbon X is optimal for remote or low volume areas with less demanding workflow.  The single-plate FCR ClearView-1 features the digital x-ray image quality of Fuji’s four-cassette, multiplate system, the FCR ClearView-CS, but delivered in a single-cassette design.

Huestis Medical (Booth #937) is displaying its remanufactured equipment including GE AMX Portables, GE R&F Rooms, OEC C-arms, and Liebel Flarsheim Urology suites. The R/F systems and AMX portables are now available with Canon digital upgrades. Each system is supplied with all necessary electrical, mechanical, and cosmetic upgrades for crisp imaging and like-new operation meeting OEM standards.

Konica Minolta Medical Imaging (Booth # 701) is introducing its REGIUS 370 upright DR system with an advanced phosphor detector that uses Cesium Bromide (CsBr) to produce a high level of detective quantum efficiency (DQE) comparable to flat-panel DR systems. However, the REGIUS 370 is compatible with nearly any x-ray generator or tube, which reduces the systems overall cost. The system is capable of rapidly scanning images at a rate of 210 exposures an hour. Additionally, the system can support a large range of clinical studies, such as clavicles, abdomen, spine, shoulders, standing knee, chest and an assortment of weight-bearing studies.

Konica Minolta also is featuring a new 14 inch by 51 inch Mobile Stitching Cassette Holder for REGIUS Xpress, IQue CT and existing RIM stations. The dimensions of holders will benefit departments that have to deal with limited wall space but also need to be able to handle long-length images in multiple x-ray rooms.

The company also is announcing the availability of a 14 inch by 51 inch long-length cassette assembly for use with the Xpress CR and IQue CR systems. The assemblies are capable of doing digital capture of full-length and full-length spine images of patients over 6 foot 6 inches tall in one exposure. The long-length cassette holds three slightly overlapped CR plates so that the entire length of the spine or leg can be captured.

Mammography Reporting System Inc. (Booth #707) is previewing its Interactive Patient History Collection System. This optional interactive patient history collection system will allow a patient to enter her history into a tablet PC or other PC hardware, which is then downloaded into the MRS database. This history is available in MRS for viewing and verification. When the patient returns to the facility, any updated patient information can be added. This new system will be available at year’s end, the company said.

ODS Medical (Booth #222) is announcing the V2.5 upgrade release of its PACScomm CD/DVD Image Recording Systems and the PACScomm Plus Image Storage & Distribution System. The release includes a number of features, such as the View Station Solution that adds DICOM and generic ëhot shares’ ability to create CDs or DVDs from other DICOM sources. This feature allows any data to be recorded onto the CD/DVD drive, provides a convenient interface and does not rely on the operator to manually record the information. The View Station Solution also features a configurable record job share folder to be used as a mechanism for the PACScomm to capture and automatically record and label CDs.

Other features include:
  • Completed support for Rimage thermal robotics and printers;
  • Support for DVD Dual layer media (8.5 GB capacity);
  • Automated Workflow Assistant — Allows DICOM images to be sent to the PACScomm and automatically forwarded to other DICOM stations, enhancing workflow;
  • An enhanced user interface for PACS-comm Lite, a newer, low-cost system with manual disk feed for CD/DVD burning applications for the low volume requirements of small hospitals and imaging centers, and outlying locations affiliated with large institutions. The system includes a PC server and Elesys Duet 400 DVD/CD recorder/printer; and
  • Complete support of Elesys Duet 400 Drive/Printer to allow for more effective control of interface between drive and PACScomm software.

R2 Technology Inc. (Booth #900) is showcasing its new Version 2.1 ImageChecker CT Lung CAD System, as well as mammography CAD offerings. Through the use of Version 2.1 results from the AutoPoint Temporal Comparison tool (for tracking lung nodule growth between current and prior multi-slice CT exams) can now be sent to a PACS workstation for full enterprise accessibility, without the need for R2’s dedicated CT CAD workstation. Also with the new V2.1 software, R2’s Pulmonary Artery Patency Exam (PE) tool features a more robust algorithm to help physicians more effectively detect intravascular filling defects, such as pulmonary embolism, during review of multidetector CT exams.

Other products R2 is featuring include:
  • Citra Mammography Applications Suite — For use with the Sectra IDS5/mx.net Breast Imaging Workstation, the system uses 'CAD intelligence’ to help standardize the display of digital or digitized mammography images — regardless of their source. The system also optimizes the presentation of images and CAD information for improved decision support and workflow;
  • ImageChecker DMax System — this small footprint system features high-throughput, laser scanning image quality and is designed primarily for high-volume centers. The system accepts both film and digital images from all major digital mammography vendors, supports R2’s DigitalNow and PeerView software and its CheckMate Ultra display system, and also integrate with the leading reporting systems; and
  • R2’s ImageChecker D CAD System is designed exclusively for digital-based mammography centers. The system accepts images from a broad range of digital mammography vendors and delivers CAD results to DICOM workstations or PACS.

RamSoft Inc. (Booth #107) is featuring its full practice and image management system RamSoft One, which is available for the Microsoft Windows platform in both radiology and orthopedic editions. RamSoft One is a flexible, multi-featured system designed to increase overall productivity, efficiency, reduce operating costs, and improve the quality of patient care. RamSoft One can help manage an entire out-patient practice with no messy RIS and PACS integrations, no multi-vendor complication, and no cost overhead due to multifaceted implementations, the company said.

Riverain Medical (Booth #106) is demonstrating improvements in sensitivity and specificity of its FDA-approved chest x-Ray CAD system RapidScreen. Specifically, the company is highlighting RapidScreen’s ability to have universal connectivity to the many radiology PACS systems available on the market.

RapidScreen is designed to assist the radiologist in detecting early-stage lung cancer built to quickly identify solitary pulmonary nodules between 9 and 30 mm and other suspicious nodules on the original standard AP/PA chest x-ray providing a virtual second pair of eyes for the radiologist. RapidScreen offers film and filmless solutions as well as an upgrade path for those seeking to evolve from film to digital in the foreseeable future.

Sony Electronics (Booth #832) is introducing a selection of advanced printers as part of its comprehensive line of hard-copy solutions.

The Color 8x10-inch DICOM Printer is Sony’s latest nuclear medicine device, and is designed to support a full range of modalities including PET/CT, and 3D CT. This 8 x 10-inch color DICOM printer produces high-quality, smudge-free images for referring physicians and patient records. The unit utilizes advanced dye-sublimation technology with robust color management and is optimized to support accurate color reproduction and screen-to-print matching. The model UP-D77MD recreates large nuclear medicine image files in the full detail exactly as displayed on the screen. Complementing this, Sony will introduce another similar 8x10-inch USB printer to make similar technology available at a lower price point.

Sony also is introducing the UP-990AD and UP-970AD model hybrid printers th support full-page monochrome printing for mobile c-arm, ultrasound and cardiac catheterization applications. These medical printers provide both analog and digital connectivity. Also, in addition to thermal paper, a blue transparency film option is available with the model UP-990AD.

TeraRecon (Booth #420) is showcasing Aquarius workstation version 3.5 that offers protocol-based workflow tools that simplify the interpretation process by automatically presenting the 3D volume based on the study type selected by the operator. For cardiovascular CT, the enhanced software offers new soft-plaque analysis, automatic vessel segmentation and extraction, measurement, interpretation and reporting tools. For CT colonography, the entire colon is automatically segmented upon loading with flight paths automatically generated providing the ability to easily switch from 2D synchronized views to 3D fly-through mode.

Also at AHRA is the company’s AquariusNET Server version 1.7 that offers several new clinical workflow and cardiovascular analysis enhancements. Enterprise workflow improvements include support for Single Sign On (SSO), which allows central administration of passwords to avoid the need to maintain password lists on multiple systems; online processing engines that automatically remove the CT table and rib cage, or calculate registration information if desired; and Patient Information Reconciliation (PIR), through which AquariusNET will respond to messages from an institution’s RIS containing updates to header information for studies already present on the server.

Virtual Radiologic (Booth #820) is emphasizing its expanding full-service teleradiology services for coverage of schedule gaps at radiology practices that occur during evenings, weekends, and vacations, as examples. The company has grown its offerings to include daytime and finals interpretation, as well as new subspecialty services.By expanding into daytime and finals interpretation, radiology practices no longer have to face doing final interpretation on images that Virtual Radiologic had interpreted the night before. The company will now do the definitive reading on these studies to ease the burden on a radiology staff.

Virtual Radiologic also has launched some subspecialty radiologist coverage last fall. For instance, the company is now able to provide reads for CT angiography.