Health IT crowds the spotlight from classroom to exhibit hall

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If the presence of Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise was any indication, health information technology (HIT) has moved into a permanent place on the front burner at RSNA. From specialty vendors to the larger players to educational sessions, everyone was talking about interoperability, IT standards and better system communications. Know DICOM, XML, HL7, CCR and other relevant health IT terms or move forward at your own peril.

HIT developments, such as messaging systems, intelligent routers, automated worklists and prefetching capabilities allow for improved workflow and productivity. Virtually every vendor and most session speakers discussed the ongoing work on IT standards and how products keep up with the latest versions. But while many standards remain a work-in-progress to a large degree, many healthcare organizations are taking matters into their own hands. Practices and hospitals are putting health IT solutions in place to facilitate electronic data exchange with referring clinicians. Rather than watching health IT pass them by or being concerned about big investments in technology that could become obsolete, healthcare organizations are working with vendors to figure out how to reap the benefits that interoperability, integration, connectivity and communication have been promising.

And there is no shortage of companies willing to help them do that. Smaller vendors have jumped at the opportunity to step in where the larger, more established vendors may not have kept pace over the past few years. However, several of those vendors have now initiated a new focus on health IT solutions. They may not be as nimble as the little guys but only time will tell if their experience and market power will make the difference in the health IT arena.

Advantech demonstrated its upgraded POC Slim Series Panel computers to assist medical personnel care for patients. Upgraded models have an optional built-in uninterruptible power supply that provides 30 minutes of operational power for safer data storage and graceful shutdown of applications.

Amirsys added an Imaging Anatomy Module to STATdx, the first point-of-care, clinical decision support system for imaging. STATdx is designed to support the busy radiologist by increasing speed, accuracy and diagnostic confidence in complex cases. STATdx streamlines workflow by reducing the time required to research and complete a difficult imaging analysis.

aycan Medical Systems highlighted the aycan workstation OsiriX, a cost-effective certified image processing software dedicated to DICOM images for navigation and visualization of multislice/multidimensional studies.

Cedara Software showcased a variety of new technologies for OEM/VARs designed to unite image and information management in the healthcare industry. The C4 (Cedara Clinical Control Center) allows clinical applications and plug-ins to be tightly integrated into a single workstation sharing system resources. Cedara also introduced aXigate to help integrate radiology information into general healthcare workflow. aXigate is an IT platform for OEM/VARs with a web-based back-office architecture allowing a single point of access to comprehensive clinical and diagnostic information.

Compressus showcased a comprehensive suite of enterprise systems integration solutions. The MEDxConnect System technology provides seamless connectivity and interoperability between diagnostic acquisition devices, PACS, HIS, RIS, and their related information systems of integrated digital medical imaging and data management. Key components of the MEDxConnect Enterprise Integration solution include:  the Medical Message Mediator (M3), the Virtual Worklist and the Systems Management Dashboard (SMD). 

The M3 uses the communications protocols and semantics of each participating information system to control the flow of images, reports, messages, standard patient demographics and other important data for diagnosis and treatment planning of a patient between otherwise independent and disparate systems. The MEDxConnect Virtual Worklist is a software product that runs on the MEDxConnect M3 server and leverages the M3 integration capabilities. By creating one integrated Enterprise diagnostic network, the Virtual Worklist maximizes productivity and reduce spikes in workload. The Compressus MEDxConnect Systems Management Dashboard (SMD) provides the needed overview in monitoring Enterprise activities and assist in identifying inefficiencies or bottlenecks