X-ray makes digital the focus
Maximizing department resources is a common goal among x-ray product offerings this year that include new and enhanced computed radiography, digital radiography, C-arms and special procedures systems. Even as more specialties find the value of the various radiology technologies, vendors are offering up more targeted study capabilities. Faster scanning times and larger, seamless images also are on tap.

Agfa Healthcare (Booth #2729) is highlighting its System Monitoring and Management Services (SMMS) this year which is designed to ensure high availability of the healthcare infrastructure, while reducing the administrative effort required to manage systems such as CR. SMMS is an integrated service that continually manages and monitors Agfa's applications, hardware, operating systems and databases throughout the hospital enterprise, identifying trends that point to potential future conflicts, notifying all stakeholders of the situation, and then providing a map to quickly track down and resolve the problem. By providing proactive monitoring, system management and reporting services, SMMS helps resolve issues quickly, and can manage issues after-hours as well as during core business hours.

Anexa (Booth #5929) is introducing targeted functionality in its new DR product line. Anexa is announcing the addition of the SyneRad OMNI EX and the SyneRad OMNI RT to the SyneRad OMNI product line. These two additions are geared for hospital emergency and outpatient applications in the case of the SyneRad OMNI EX and a dual-detector option for trauma in the SyneRad OMNI RT.

CMT Medical Technologies (Booth #4923) is enhancing last year's launches, adding advanced features to the SmartRAD and SmartSPOT PrimaX DR systems. SmartRAD is available in various single- or dual-detector configurations, and is offered as a complete DR room, as a retrofit solution for existing x-ray equipment, and as a digital subsystem for OEM partners to incorporate into their own equipment.

Two new applications are now offered with the SmartRAD: Rhapsody, CMT's proprietary contrast-enhancing, tissue-harmonizing image processing software; and SmartStitch, its application for extended length imaging (up to 47-by-17-inch) of the lower limbs or the spine for orthopedic studies.

CMT also is introducing SmartSPOT PrimaX, a high-resolution digital photospot and angiography imaging system for the retrofit market. The SmartSPOT PrimaX converts any analog or non-DICOM digital R/F or angiography suite to a fully digital, DICOM-compliant system. CMT is highlighting the recently released software version 3.1 that includes capabilities such as handling patients with split sessions, writing examinations on CD-R media and automatic selection of study type according to DICOM MWL "Procedure Description."

Fujifilm Medical Systems USA (Booth #7157) is showcasing advancements to its Velocity line of DR readers. The FCR Velocity-T (for table exams) and the Velocity-U (for chest and other upright exams) feature HD LineScan Technology, resulting in fast throughput - 240 images per hour on Velocity-U, and an average of 140 images per hour for Velocity-T. Both systems produce a fully processed image in less than 7 seconds.

Fuji also is extending its line of digital x-ray products with the introduction of multiple new CR products, and providing an update on the pediatric dose reduction study announced last year using Fuji's dual-side reading technology.

GE Healthcare (Booth #7730) is introducing a new family of DR products, the Definium series.

The new Definium AMX 700 mobile DR system provides an integrated digital solution. The Definium 8000 is a new fixed room DR system that offers powerful room automation and DICOM-based networking features to enhance operator efficiency. The Definium is based on the Revolution digital detector, which delivers the industry's highest DQE.

IDC (Booth #3709) is debuting the Xplorer 2200 DR system that the company describes as an "affordable" dual-detector solution. It incorporates a traditional two detector configuration that includes one detector integrated in a fixed, elevating, four-way float-top table and a second detector on a vertical motorized stand.
Also new at RSNA is the Xplorer 1590 that includes motorized imaging detector movements, programmable auto positioning and an ergonomic remote control. It was built with technologists in mind.

IDC also is exhibiting its entire Xplorer family of digital imaging products that the company touts as providing efficient and affordable DR solutions for facilities large and small.

InfiMed (Booth #2109) is introducing its latest DR system, StingRay Excel, which builds on the image processing core and flat-panel detector technology of the StingRay DR system but offers a new set of image processing features designed to optimize image quality and productivity. Among new enhancements are "hands-free" imaging software which displays images optimized to the specifications of the facility; ImageEnhance image processing that optimizes the StingRay Excel images immediately upon acquisition, requiring no post-processing by the technologist; and the ImageStitch orthopedic stitching program that allows for the combination of two images into one 17-by-34-inch image.  

Kodak's Health Group (Booth #4312) is introducing the Kodak DirectView DR 7500 System, a modular digital radiography system that enables medical facilities of any size to configure a digital x-ray solution that meets their individual space, application, workflow and budget requirements. It features a wall stand capable of three-axis movement to capture a wide range of upright, horizontal and cross-table projections. The system also features a fixed, elevating table with four-way float.

Kodak also is showing its work-in-progress DirectView DR 3000 System designed for facilities where space and budgets are limited. This flexible DR system features a motorized, floor-mounted U-arm with a multi-purpose, single detector that moves around the patient. The DR 3000 is supported by a fully featured console, which includes an intuitive, color-coded touch screen.

Another work-in-progress on display is the Kodak DirectView CR Portable Long-Length Imaging System, an easy-to-use accessory enabling hospitals and orthopedic clinics to capture digital images of long anatomical regions with patients in the supine or upright position. A portable system with software enables virtually seamless image stitching with little impact to radiographer workflow. When coupled with the Kodak DirectView CR Long-Length Wall Mounted Imaging System, it provides a comprehensive solution for capturing images of any long-length exam.

Konica Minolta Medical Imaging (Booth #3545) is demonstrating a new software upgrade for Xpress CR that allows users to add free floating text to their images. In addition to the annotation capability, version 2.0 gives radiologists the opportunity to review data on other control stations, and to balance heavy workloads throughout the radiology department.

The company also is displaying its REGIUS 370 CR upright reader which uses a new plate technology that increases the DQE of the phosphor-based detector. Konica Minolta will be among the first to make Cs:Br-based phosphor clinically and commercially available in the U.S. In addition to the new plate technology, an anti-scatter lead sheet has been built in to reduce x-ray scattering.

Lodox Systems North America, LLC (Booth #2404) is showcasing its Lodox Statscan Critical Imaging System, a digital x-ray system that can conduct a full body scan in 13 seconds and with significantly less radiation than traditional DR systems, the company says. Designed for quick diagnoses in hospital trauma units and emergency departments, studies have shown that patients scanned using Statscan received 93 percent less radiation than patients imaged with CR - and it took 60 percent less time to complete an x-ray study compared with CR. Statscan is based on linear slit scanning radiography (LSSR) technology, which can quickly generate images up to 1800-by-680 millimeters with zero geometric aspect ratio distortion in the scanning direction. Technologists can operate Statscan with a single joystick controller.

Quantum Medical Imaging (Booth #2765) is exhibiting its Q-RAD-PQ pivoting table system, the next generation of its Q-Rad digital x-ray systems that features a single digital receptor built into a tilting/rotating wall stand situated on a horizontal track system. The tube head is ceiling mounted, with a telescoping tube that matches the vertical travel of the wall stand.

An elevating float-top table - with a 700-pound patient capacity, is designed to pivot on a point secured to the facility's floor. This radical design allows technicians to position patients faster and with more precision, thereby allowing for more accurate exams as well as greater patient throughput.

Philips Medical Systems (Booth #1129) is showcasing at RSNA its new PCR Eleva (Philips Computed Radiography). The PCR Eleva workspots deliver images directly to x-ray rooms and integrate desired workflow into any DICOM network.

Philips also is presenting its direct radiography solution, DigitalDiagnost, with fully automatic image stitching functionality for long leg and spine images. Philips General X-ray is introducing the Practix Convenio, a fully motorized, mobile x-ray system.

Showcasing its Eleva technology, Philips also is highlighting the MultiDiagnost Eleva with Flat Detector and the nearby-controlled R/F system EasyDiagnost Eleva. It's a multi-purpose x-ray system with extended capabilities in vascular and interventional proceduresm, offering an optimized image quality and projection flexibility in landscape and portrait format. The isocentric, 180-degree C-arm rotation increases projection flexibility and allows 3D reconstruction.

The EasyDiagnost Eleva features ergonomic aspects like EasyGrip or EasyLat for intuitive handling and great application flexibility. Integrating with an existing CR reader offers an economical solution for a fully digital R/F room for increased productivity, room utilization and image quality as all digital static images are processed with UNIQUE, Philips multi-resolution image processing.

Also on display are the BV Endura and BV Pulsera mobile c-arm systems, which address all mobile fluoroscopy imaging applications. These systems are equipped with SmartVision, providing a fully digital imaging chain including 1K-by-1K imaging throughout and post-processing functions such as BodySmart and Automatic Shutter Positioning. The new, slim compact Mobile View Station with rotating LCD monitors provide the operator with an intelligent viewing concept that will optimize workflow. With the integrated ViewForum Surgical Workstation, it is possible to import multi-modality images via the integrated DICOM Query and Retrieve functionality. The right hand monitor on the Mobile View Station then acts as a digital interactive lightbox.

For orthopedics, Philips is showcasing multi-modality specific orthopedic imaging capabilities particularly around the need to improve throughput and go digital. Areas addressed will be MR, CT, surgery, healthcare IT and ultrasound - plus the latest developments in general x-ray such as automatic stitching using both CR and DR, long leg CR imaging cassettes, dedicated workstations for orthopedics in radiography and surgery, and a PACS viewing station with orthopedic templates.

Siemens Medical Solutions (Booth #4337) is unveiling two new DR systems this year, but was not releasing details prior to showtime. But Siemens did say that its angiography and x-ray division is showcasing the AXIOM Artis dTA, the first digital, ceiling-mounted universal angiography C-arm system equipped with flat-panel detector (FD) technology, which enables comprehensive routine diagnosis with advanced 3D image quality.

Also on display is Siemens' AXIOM Multix M portable flat-panel detector system, which performs general-purpose radiographic applications, both on and off the table, as well as in the standing position. The cost-effective Multix M features a flat-panel detector that is quickly and easily inserted into the Bucky table or wall stand tray. Upon insertion, the detector is automatically centered, allowing for both landscape and portrait format positioning.

Swissray International (Booth #2718) is adding Si TFT flat-panel technology to its highly versatile ddRCombi Trauma and the all new ddRFormula system. All eight Swissray systems feature the unique automated positioning system (APS). The FP-5000 flat-panel detector is the only flat-panel detector featuring a pro-active shock absorption system for maximum protection, the company says. The newest system, the C-arm type ddRFormula, features numerous advances in a compact design. Swissray also is introducing the ALLinONE-Stand for all its ddR systems, which allows for special DR applications such as scoliosis and long leg studies as well as weight-bearing examinations. It also automatically transmits data such as weight and height by wireless Bluetooth connections.

Toshiba America Medical Systems (Booth #7114) is featuring the T.RAD, a versatile family of radiographic systems designed for bone and chest imaging with floor, ceiling and stand-alone configurations. DR systems are available in one or two panel configurations.