Hundreds of new products and enhancements debuted and were previewed on the expansive exhibition floor of the RSNA annual meeting. Here is a collection of trends and technologies divided into the 18 categories our writers covered at the meeting. To take a look in at in-depth new product and enhancement announcements in each category by vendor, visit RSNA360.HealthImaging.com.
RIS/PACS makes images flow
Although most RSNA attendees confirmed that RIS/PACS has become a commodity, solutions continue to evolve and demonstrate their relevance and help in streamlining radiology workflow. Vendors touted integration, efficiency and actionable information.
The Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) nearly stole the stage at the show. “[Given the current climate], imaging center officials should understand how rapidly their imaging informatics solutions help them obtain a positive return on investment,” said Kenneth Rardin, Merge Healthcare president and CEO.
Across the board, RIS/PACS vendors offered the basics including improved graphical user interfaces to beefier integration between RIS and PACS and key tools like reporting and CAD.
At the next level, vendors such as Siemens Medical Solutions and Sage Software focused on the portal concept, which provides an efficient means to deliver context-sensitive data such as lab results and clinical documents. Looking beyond the next RIS/PACS upgrade, GE Healthcare, McKesson and Philips Healthcare offered prototypes of futuristic PACS interfaces and reading room concepts.
Next-gen CT promises more volume, quicker scans
RSNA-goers curious about the future of CT hit the motherload. GE, Philips, Siemens and Toshiba America Medical Systems all debuted or previewed their next-generation systems, the first of which start deliveries this summer.
The new systems promise higher resolution cardiovascular and neurology images, in particularly, with larger detectors allowing imaging of more anatomy—such as a whole heart or brain (up to 16 cm with 0.5 mm resolution). Scan times are quicker thanks to faster gantry speeds, and across the board, radiation dose on each of the scanners is expected to be 80 percent less than current-generation systems. Reconstructions are faster, too. New detectors, scintillators, x-ray tubes and faster data processing speed are behind these innovations. Clinical applications are sure to widen.
For a closer look at the new systems and to hear what clinicians have to say about them, see our cover story, “ A Look Inside: Next-Generation Multidetector CT.”
PACS peripherals: The perfect compliment
Since most hospitals and medical imaging centers have adopted PACS, many vendors are improving PACS support products.
For the first time, more companies offered peripherals for individual departments that could be transferred into the centralized PACS through small manual CD or DVD burners.
Companies introduced purely customized PACS peripherals allowing products to be tailored to the specific routing needs of the center or hospital. First-time RSNA exhibitor, GencoSoft, presented its AutoPACS product that is completely customizable to its environment.
For dry film imagers, vendors mostly agreed there is still a need to print images, especially in mammography. Physicians also want to choose different sizes of film, print in color and see high resolution grayscale. Examples of two approaches to printing included Agfa HealthCare’s new Drystar imager, based on thermal contact technology and Carestream Health’s new DryView 6800 laser imager.
Reading Services: Round-the-clock reading
More and more images equal more need for reads, and that’s good news for reading services. RSNA 2007 saw vendors such as Emory Night and Day Teleradiology, Franklin & Seidelmann Subspecialty Radiology, International Teleradiology, NightHawk Radiology Services, Templeton Readings and Virtual Radiologic highlight expanded and extended services.
Teleradiology services, now offered for every imaging subspecialty, can perform preliminary as well as final reads 24/7/365 and can even place radiologists on site. In response to the array of advanced