Industry news: Agfa, Matrox, Toshiba
Agfa HealthCare plans to launch its ORBIS system, a comprehensive hospital-wide clinical and administrative information system in the United Kingdom. The system was first displayed in the U.K. at Healthcare Computing 2007 in Harrogate, and has been designed to provide hospitals and healthcare facilities with an electronic patient record (EPR). The system includes scheduling activity management and communication software.  As part of its comprehensive offering, ORBIS also includes prescription and care modules, providing a care record and electronic prescription functionality that covers laboratory, radiology and medication requirements.
Agfa HealthCare's ORBIS already has successfully been deployed in over 750 institutions across continental Europe with more than 450,000 daily users, Agfa said. ORBIS addresses the needs of the entire healthcare enterprise, including registration, scheduling, order management, results reporting and clinical documentation. The new suite of solutions includes ancillary clinical disciplines such as radiology, pharmacy, laboratory, therapy services, nursing management and critical care. Other specialized tools within the system address surgery suite management, critical care unit management, skilled nursing facility, workflow and logistics. 

Matrox Graphics will demonstrate its medical imaging solutions in various display configurations at the International Technical Exhibition of Medical Imaging (ITEM) show in JRC 2007, in Yokohama, Japan. Matrox medical display controller boards also will be demonstrated in various partner booths such as Chi Lin, Eizo Nanao Corp., HYC, P.S.P. Corp., Sectra, Totoku, and others. The demonstrations will take place from April 13-15.

The company will showcase its single board PCI Express solution, the Matrox AuroraVX Series. Also, the company’s Matrox MED Series display controller boards represent a top-to-bottom solution capable of a scope of display configurations for landscape and portrait modes ranging from two through five mega pixels, such as the Matrox MED2mp, Matrox MED3mp, Matrox MED4mp and Matrox MED5mp, and includes a variety of grayscale and color models with analog and digital display support.

Toshiba America Medical Systems has developed three imaging techniques for its magnetic resonance product line, including the Vantage systems, that allow for contrast free imaging during MRA procedures.  Contrast-free imaging is particularly important because gadolinium, the common contrast agent used for MRI and magnetic resonance angiography exams, recently has been directly linked to nephrogenic systemic fibrosis also known as nephrogenic fibrosing dermopathy (NSF/NFD), a sometimes fatal disease that occurs in patients with renal insufficiency.

“Toshiba has been at the forefront of contrast-free imaging since 1998 – long before reports of the negative effects of gadolinium,” said Bob Giegerich, director, MR Business Unit at Toshiba.  “With Toshiba’s contrast-free imaging techniques, physicians can perform MRA procedures and capture images superior to those acquired through techniques that require contrast agents.”

Specifically, Toshiba’s equipment utilizes three proprietary contrast-free imaging techniques that can successfully perform MRA – fresh blood imaging (FBI), contrast-free improved angiography (CIA) and Time-SLIP.

Unlike traditional time of flight techniques commonly used in the MR market, FBI makes it possible to image the arteries and veins at the same time, but displays them separately, which allows physicians to more accurately diagnose diseases that may have both arterial and venous components.