Cardiology Image & Information Systems
New image and information systems are defining more efficient workflow throughout cardiology and the healthcare enterprise, joining all facets of cardiac care, including echocardiography, cardiac cath lab, CT and nuclear medicine images with ECG, surgery and even lab data. Most systems are web-based and bring a host of workflow boosters. Look for a few brand-new entries, too.

Agfa Healthcare (booth #734) is highlighting IMPAX ES, an enterprise-wide digital imaging and information management system, featuring Heartlab clinical technology, which brings point-of-care technologies to healthcare providers with the goal of image-enabling the EHR.

IMPAX ES is the first of Agfa's next generation releases featuring  'Connectivity Inside' and a new thin-client clinical application server for results distribution in phase I, which evolves to a web-enabled clinical and diagnostic display client server in mid- 2005. Key features include: integrated RIS-PACS-speech recognition for radiology reporting in hospitals of various sizes; effective workflow solutions for viewing large data set image studies; Improved security, privacy and auditing; extended enterprise scalability with Microsoft Windows core components;  and paperless workflow options.

Cerner Corp.'s (booth #3924) booth is educating visitors on its cardiovascular IT solution, CVNet. This platform is fully unified with the EMR across the office, hospital and multi-facility institutions-providing access to patients' images, reports, labs, medications, and charted results. The solution presents relevant EMR data in the context of the user's work, without requiring interfaces, additional logins or searches. Visitors can learn how Cerner's architecture provides simplified systems in the cardiovascular enterprise, including: Non-invasive (echocardiography, ECG, vascular, nuclear medicine), invasive (cath lab, electrophysiology), surgery, and various specific clinics (lipid, CHF, etc.).

Among the new applications being featured by DR Systems (booth #6611) at HIMSS is Release 7, the latest upgrade of the company's Dominator RIS/PACS, which incorporates cardiology tools; auto pull of cases and reports; and improved radiology information system (RIS) interfaces. This technology offers a single-company solution for universal image and information management. By integrating cardiology PACS and pathology image distribution into DR Systems' RIS/PACS, a user can access cardiology images or case studies from anywhere inside or outside the hospital. In addition, the user doesn't need to look for missing films or CDs. The same IS infrastructure that supports radiology PACS storage, archiving and web distribution can be shared by cardiology.

GE Healthcare IT (booth #1710) is highlighting new features to its Centricity PACS. The features are designed for institutions to be able to enhance existing imaging and IT investments, and to be able to manage multiple sites and system requirements. Features include a new communication tool, Exam Notes, which can be attached to an exam and becomes part of the patient electronic medical record. It incorporates a new PET/CT spatial cursor that allows radiologists to quickly identify a specific anatomical location from PET/CT images across the same study, as well as full integration of radiology/cardiology images and results. Also, since HIPAA requirements have resulted in facilities now being subject to higher degrees of data protection and disaster recovery requirements, Centricity PACS has open standards supporting CCOW (which allows EMRs to work better with PACS), three new IHE profiles, and enhanced log-in capabilities.

Heartlab, Inc. (booth #6807) is featuring at HIMSS its Encompass Results Management Version 2.04. This software is ACC-NCDR CL v3.0 certified and enables users to collect data required for participating in the National Cardiovascular Data Registry.

The ACC-NCDR is a repository for information collected from cardiology catheterization labs nationwide. The registry consists of data from more than 500 institutions and more than 1.6 million patient discharges. The data collected focus on outcomes rather than on volume alone and form the basis of benchmark comparisons among hospitals, making it possible to assess the quality of cardiac care patients receive nationwide. Participation in the NCDR helps hospitals measure performance and improve quality of care.

Heartlab's ACC-NCDR certified Encompass Results Management application streamlines submissions to this national database. Sites that participate in NCDR are required to maintain many data elements and to send aggregate reports to the registry on a Heartlab Achieves ACC-NCDR certification. Unlike other systems that require hospitals to maintain a separate database to collect NCDR information, Heartlab's solution is completely integrated with the Encompass Results Management application. Clinicians record much of the needed information during the patient encounter, so data fields reserved for NCDR submission are harvested by the application. One single database eliminates redundant data entry. Encompass Results Management also reduces the time that it takes to find and correct missing data. In addition, all data collected are accessible by clinicians for patient assessment.

IDX Systems Corp. (booth #2334) is previewing its Imagecast for Cardiology solution, an IT system that streamlines the intricacies of cardiovascular care by transforming time-consuming, manual processes into efficient, automated workflow, the company says. Using a totally web-based, single database CVIS/PACS solution, clinical staff throughout a hospital enterprise have continual access to complete patient images and information.  Imagecast for Cardiology is built on the same database as the Imagecast RIS/PACS solution. IDX also is featuring its voice recognition and structured reporting. Phase one of a new user interface strategy and an enhanced interpreting provider worklist also are being showcased.

Eastman Kodak Co. (booth #5104) is unveiling its Enterprise Information Management (EIM) Services. This service can be used to manage data of all types, including data from radiology and cardiology information systems as well as patient records, billing info and accounting records, that reside on a variety of storage platforms and locations. EIM also can manage imaging studies (DICOM) and data (non-DICOM). It will enable users to centralize storage by consolidating data and can be used in conjunction with existing storage systems, with no special hardware purchases required, according to Kodak. New storage technologies or devices can be added at any time by the user. Also, the system performs lifecycle management by automatically moving or copying data from one storage system to another. Data can then be automatically deleted after the necessary retention period has elapsed.

Kodak is also showcasing new features for its Secure Email Service, including an electronic postmark issued by the U.S. Postal Service that provides data integrity and non-repudiation. This postmark guarantees that the content of the message has not changed and that all of the people involved in sending and receiving messages are identified. Secure Email can used whenever any patient-identifiable information leaves the hospital network and is sent over the internet-such as to go to physicians' offices or remote clinics and facilities. Senders can include secure links in the message to ensure that response is secure. Users can access this service anywhere in the world, without having to download software to read secure messages.

Medcon Telemedicine Technology, Inc. (booth #6555) is showcasing its TCS Symphony cardiac information and image management solution. TCS Symphony assembles all cardiology modalities including cath, echo, nuclear medicine, CT, and vascular ultrasound with patient information, data and measurements into one central database for LAN and internet access. Using integration applications for third-party systems and equipment, TCS Symphony ensures that all patient cardiology data are collected and stored in a single cardiac EMR, according to the company. Images and data are accessible from any TCS Symphony workstation, from the physician portal, or from any remote location via the internet.

Special attention is being given to TCS Symphony's customized and synchronized reporting application for all cardiology modalities. Report design and content is customized to the specific needs of the hospital, and the individual requirements of the user. At one customer site, the technologists and the physicians using different snapshots of data, will access only relevant information. The data entry screen and the report generated are then displayed simultaneously on one screen. Most data are auto-populated and, when users do enter data using point and click, they can see the report updated simultaneously before their eyes. Reports can be finalized and signed from remote locations over the internet.

Philips Medical Systems (booth #4945) is showcasing its Xcelera Image Management (IM) cardiology imaging and information solution for cath and echo labs and stress tests, and introducing the Xtenity Enterprise, a new offering to serve the needs of customers seeking an enterprise-wide solution as well as providing departmental solutions which can be incorporated into any hospital IT infrastructure.

Xcelera IM offers productivity enhancements and improved workflow through: a single workspot for reviewing echo, cardiac, and vascular cath lab images; cath lab image review at speeds up to 60 frames per second; multi-modality storage, archiving, and distribution of cardiac cath, vascular, echo, nuclear, IVUS, MR and surgical C-arm images; flexible archive media options, including DVD, MOD, digital tape, SAN and NAS; exam forwarding of images to network nodes, such as web servers; enterprise image distribution and viewing on standard PC hardware through EasyWeb Cardio; and an open platform that conforms to industry standards. Philips customers currently using Inturis On-Line, Inturis Suite or EnConcert can upgrade to Xcelera.

Powered by technology from Epic Systems Corp., the Xtenity Enterprise is tailored to the needs of mid-size hospitals with a patient-centric, one-vendor enterprise solution. It is designed and built around a core data repository and covers all clinical and administrative functions necessary to improve quality of care, drive efficiency, and ensure patient safety. User-friendly features include integration with existing systems, a single consistent interface, and web portal technology for enhanced patient and clinician communication.

Quinton Cardiology (booth #1102) is featuring the Pyramis cardiology data management system. Built around an open architecture, which facilitates its use and support, the Pyramis centralizes diagnostic ECG data for rapid and accessible information access. It automates and streamlines the storage, editing, retrieval and sharing of resting ECGs, stress tests, Holter tests and 12-lead ECGs from bedside monitors. Based on industry standards for data management and sharing, the system is capable of communicating with network printers, the HIS, nurse's stations, and home or office PCs - as well as multi-vendor acquisition devices. Configurable password protection, password expiration, and automatic log-off features protect patient data from unauthorized access. Event logging and audit trails ensure accountability and provide data integrity assurance. The system runs on Microsoft Windows 2000 Server; client software can be installed on PCs running Microsoft Windows 98, NT 4.0, 2000 Professional or XP.

ScImage (booth #6341) is demonstrating new features of its PICOMEnterprise Version 2.0.  This enterprise level PACS is built to be deployed as a single-server solution that can serve one or more departments and tie together all of the stored data using a common database. Version 2.0 enables an order-driven workflow for radiology departments while simultaneously giving other departments within the hospital enterprise a tool for the acquisition, storage and distribution of both images and reports. Version 2.0 also has a new interface engine that provides a single point of entry through any third-party RIS, EMR or practice management system. A new Hyper-streaming technology provides instant viewing of images over a broadband connection without utilizing any proprietary image formatting technologies. Viewing, advanced visualization, and analysis programs for cardiology are seamlessly delivered to the client workstations using a concurrent network licensing design, the company says. Comprehensive reporting tools and document management utilities also are embedded in this web-enabled PACS.

ScImage also is highlighting PICOM ECG Suite, a web-enabled ECG management module that augments the company's cardiology image and information management suite.

Siemens Medical Solutions (booth #617) is showcasing Soarian Cardiology Version 2.0, which is designed to address the clinical, financial, and operational workflow challenges of the cardiac care team. It allows access to the electronic health record and brings together data and tools from the latest imaging and information technology solutions, such as clinical results, cardiac images, ECG, and waveform data; as well as advanced tools for documentation and registry submissions. New capabilities of the Version 2.0 include: architecture extensions with web-based application delivery, enhanced nursing support with pre and post procedure assessment forms, and full multi-modality integration with both Siemens and non-Siemens systems utilizing CCOW and HL7 standards.