Printers & Digitizers

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At this year's Radiological Society of North America meeting, vendors displayed an arsenal of printing solutions to meet the needs of any size healthcare facility. Compact designs and exceptional resolution are standard features of conventional medical imaging printers, as well as high throughput capabilities for centralized and decentralized environments. Highlights included the ability for a system to print multiple modalities, including mammography, nuclear medicine and PET/CT studies, as well as support multiple film sizes. Vendors also made a splash this year with their increased options in printing media for customers, including CDs, DVDs, larger film sizes and cost-effective paper.


Array Corp. USA highlighted upgrades to its DICOM Scan Pro Plus software for the Array 2905 laser film digitizer that now offers DICOM conformance for mammography. The software upgrade saves set-up time for multi-scanner locations by allowing the export of software configurations to multiple Array units for uniform scanning applications.
   
DICOM Scan Pro Plus provides image orientation tools that enhance the work process of PACS by allowing scanned images to be produced at the point of digitization. The DICOM Scan Pro Plus' masking feature provides patient security and increased control over how images are stored and distributed. Masking allows users to cover information such as patient demographics so that scanned images can be presented without compromising patient privacy or HIPAA regulations. Masked images may be saved in any standard format including DICOM, or saved as a different file type for export.  

DICOM Scan Pro Plus also allows scanned films to be arranged in a user specific sequence prior to transmitting to the image server or archive. Array 2905 users can change the sort order, orientation, delete and/or undelete scanned films to assure that images sent to PACS are not just correctly associated with the right patient, but properly ordered to increase radiologist efficiency. Other features of DICOM Scan Pro Plus include moiré filtering for radiographic films that exhibit high incidence of grid lines; editing features for adding to the existing base of body parts for DICOM patient demographics; and a series of log file tools to track the success of DICOM storage and duplication.


aycan Medical Systems showcased the aycan xray-print system that prints radiology and other medical images on plain paper at near film quality and makes it possible to print images for less than 10 cents.

Users can efficiently share high quality images while reducing film costs by up to 90 percent, aycan says. The system can be connected to almost any DICOM-capable imaging modality and workstation and can be integrated into existing or new networks. The system provides presentation look-up tables that allow users to establish defaults and adjust image quality output settings for each modality individually.

The aycan x-ray-print system combines aycan's software and server with Xerox Corp. printers and multifunction systems to produce any kind of medical image on plain paper at near diagnostic quality.


Codonics used RSNA 2005 to introduce two works-in-progress, the Horizon XL and Virtua integrated disc recorder
   
Horizon XL is a new digital, dry long film that is available in two sizes: 14-by-36 inch and 14-by-51 inch, for use with the company's Horizon multi-media dry imager. The works-in-progress film is suited for spine and scoliosis use, long bone hip-to-ankle studies, as well as pediatric and adult spines. Digitally stitched film from CR and DR modalities can be printed on one, continuous film. Codonics said it anticipates market release in March 2006.
   
Another works-in-progress is Virtua - an integrated disc recorder for recording and labeling CD and DVD media with radiographic studies. The system integrates dual CD/DVD drives, a high-speed printer, a touch screen user interface, and a high performance embedded computer into a standalone DICOM peripheral that handles all medical CD and DVD recording needs. Codonics says the system will be on the market in April 2006.   


Fujifilm Medical Systems unveiled the DryPix 2000, a works-in-progress dry thermal tabletop imager that offers multiple film-size printing capability.

According to company, the system will have the capability to print 8-by-10 inch, 10-by-14 inch and 14-by-17 inch films while offering a throughput from 60 to 75 films per hour for the 10-by-14 inch