KLAS: 3D adoption grows, but questions linger

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3D visualization is valuable in a variety of clinical applications because of its ability to provide diagnostic information previously unavailable through a 2D image, according to "Enterprise 3D 2011: Filling a Need?," a new report from healthcare research firm KLAS.

In addition to discussing the growing adoption of enterprise 3D in hospitals, the report also details which vendors are providing the best solutions. In organizations using enterprise 3D technology, physicians are asking for 3D post-processing on 38 percent of scans, KLAS said.

"Advanced imaging has evolved from 3D applications commonly found on the modality workstations to 3D-specific workstations," Kirk Ising, author of the report, said in a statement. "Enterprise advanced 3D imaging solutions can be accessed from anywhere. Some of the questions providers are asking about 3D technology are how clinically beneficial the technology is, will reimbursements keep up and does the potential for improved diagnosis justify the costs."

After speaking with more than 100 providers about their experiences with enterprise 3D imaging vendors, Vital, with its Vitrea Enterprise Suite, received first place with a score of 84.3 out of 100, according to the Orem, Utah-based firm. Following closely behind Vital were GE Healthcare’s AW Server and TeraRecon’s Aquarius iNtuition Enterprise, though the report noted that TeraRecon received consideration from a higher percentage of the providers that KLAS spoke with.

Many providers with 3D imaging already in place indicated they would stay with workstation solutions for the time being. Rated in the report but not ranked were GE Healthcare's Advantage Workstation, Philips' Brilliance Workspace, TeraRecon's Aquarius Workstation and Vital's Vitrea Workstation. Other solutions noted in the report are the MIMVista Workstation, the Siemens MultiModality Workplace and the Toshiba Voxar 3D Workstation.

"The ultimate success of enterprise 3D imaging is going to hinge on adoption," Ising said in the statement. "Providers will have to be convinced the advantages in diagnostics and patient care outweigh the additional time, expense and training the solution requires. Until then, many facilities will stick with their workstations or outsource post-processing to third-party specialists like 3DQ Radiology Lab at Stanford University and 3DR Laboratories, who do a high volume of visualization work."