2018 HIT Leaders,PACS

HIT Leaders articles graphic image.

2018 best picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) – HIT Leaders Awards

HIT Lists graphic image.Our staff polled clinicians on today’s most effective picture archiving and communications systems (PACS) solutions to determine which product/service line yields the most effective results from their day-to-day use. We asked about hardware imaging machines; secure networks for the distribution and exchange of patient images; workstations or mobile devices for viewing, processing and interpreting images; and electronic archives for storing and retrieving images and related documentation and reports; and cost. We surveyed 21 separate solutions. Below are the top 10 HIT Leaders for 2018.

  1.  @INFINITThealth
  2.  @Intelerad
  3. @SectraNews
  4.  @MergeHealthcare
  5.  @Carestream
  6.  @NovaradCorp
  7.  @FujifilmHealth
  8. @AgfaHealthCare
  9.  @PhilipsHealth
  10.  @GEHealthcare

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Carestream,touch prime ultrasound systems

Carestream shows diagnostic advantages of touch prime ultrasound systems at society for vascular ultrasound show

Systems offer more accurate visualization and measurement of velocity while displaying blood flow in multiple directions

Carestream will showcase its CARESTREAM Touch Prime and Touch Prime XE Ultrasound Systems (see video link) at booth #207 of the Society for Vascular Ultrasound conference that begins on Aug. 3. These systems are currently available in the United States and Canada.

“Our advanced ultrasound systems deliver enhanced views of blood flow and allow sonographers and clinicians to gain improved visualization of complex and dynamic flow patterns that may not be visible using conventional color Doppler techniques irrespective of anatomical orientation,” said Helen Titus, Carestream’s Worldwide Marketing Director for Ultrasound & CT Solutions.

Carestream’s Smart Flow imaging technology eliminates the transducer angle limitations of ordinary Doppler ultrasound, and its proprietary Smart Flow method can visualize and measure velocity even when blood flow is perpendicular to the acoustic beam. The resulting measurements are angle independent—and therefore less prone to measurement error. These ultrasound systems also visualize blood flow in multiple directions including axial and transverse, which provides more comprehensive information about hemodynamics to assist with diagnostic decisions.

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human brain cancer,MRI,sugar

MRI without contrast agents? Yes, with sugar!

In magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), contrast agents are used to enhance the imaging of tissue structures. While they enhance signals in blood vessels and in spaces between cells, they do not reach the interior of the cell. By contrast, glucose is taken up and then broken down in the body cells. Tumor cells are particularly hungry for glucose in order to feed their high energy needs. By observing glucose metabolism activity it may therefore be possible to identify solid tumors or very aggressively growing tumor areas. Radiologists and physicists from the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) in Heidelberg have now succeeded in employing this novel type of imaging.

onventional MRI is based on measuring the signals from protons in water. Since over 60 percent of our body is made up of water, this delivers a clear picture. Glucose is found at much lower levels in our body. In order to make it visible, the DKFZ researchers are therefore using an ultrahigh field scanner with 7 Tesla magnetic field strength and a special method to reinforce the glucose signal distinctly and selectively. This makes it possible to obtain sufficient signal strength in order to visualize changes in glucose levels in brain tissue after injection of a glucose solution.

The underlying physical principle of this method is called magnetization transfer effect. While this effect has been known for decades, it hasn’t been possible so far to use it for glucose imaging in humans. In magnetization transfer, the signal from glucose protons is transferred to bodily water, which is measured in MRI. The effect is proportional to the local glucose level, thus reflecting regional changes in glucose levels. The amount of glucose needed for glucose measuring corresponds to about five sugar cubes.

In the present work, physicist Patrick Schuenke and physician and physicist Daniel Paech have been able to observe the changes of glucose signals in healthy brain regions as well as pathogenic changes in human brain cancer.

For decades now, scientists have used another measuring method, called positron emission tomography (PET), to visualize elevated glucose uptake in tumors. However, this method requires radioactively labeled glucose molecules. “Our glucose MRI does not require any radioactivity and therefore does not involve any radiation exposure for the patient,” said Paech, who is the first author of the publication.

The glucose MRI project is a collaboration of DKFZ scientists from the groups led by Peter Bachert, Mark Ladd and Heinz-Peter Schlemmer. The researchers have pointed out that some questions about the new measuring method still have to be pursued. “We do not know yet how the shares of measured glucose are distributed between vessels and extracellular spaces on the one hand and the cell interior on the other,” said radiologist Heinz-Peter Schlemmer. “If we can confirm that substantial signal levels originate from glucose in the cell interior, this would be important additional information for tumor imaging and functional MRI. This could enhance therapy planning and monitoring.”

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MR Solutions,MRI scanner,multi-modality imaging,preclinical imaging,preclinical scanning

Why the latest preclinical imaging technologies radically disrupt the market

David Taylor_Cropped (1)

Dr. David Taylor, Chief Executive Officer, MR Solutions

The preclinical imaging market has changed so fast that the latest systems have completely transformed imaging to one compact, multi-modality system and done away with the need for liquid helium. This now means that where the MRI scanner was traditionally isolated in its own room, it no longer interferes with other technology in the laboratory due to the minimal stray magnetic field, and can be used safely in close proximity to other imaging modalities, such as X-ray CT, PET and SPECT. As a result MRI scanners can be placed in the laboratory, including class 3 and 4 laboratories. 

To explain this, the ability to produce high resolution scans in MRI scanners is determined by the strength of the magnet (Teslas or Ts) which must be significant – high field – 3T or above. To achieve these high fields the magnet and wiring must be superconducting. This can only be accomplished by lowering the temperature to four degrees Kelvin (minus 269 centigrade). Traditionally this very low temperature was achieved by immersing the magnet in a bath of liquid helium – 200 litres or more -which resulted in a very large, heavy (many tonnes) and expensive scanner requiring its own special room with a Faraday cage incorporated into the walls.

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ECM,Enterprise content management,OnBase by Hyland,Radiological Society of North America,RSNA,vendor-neutral archive,VNA

#RSNA15: Simplification – the key to innovation

Susan deCathelineau, Vice President of Healthcare Sales and Service, Hyland, creator of OnBase

Susan deCathelineau, Vice President of Healthcare Sales and Service, Hyland, creator of OnBase

The Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) has more than 54,000 members from 139 countries, making the RSNA Annual Meeting an incredibly large show with an amazingly diverse audience. Held in Chicago since 1985, the city welcomes the most innovative minds, technologists and equipment in medical imaging. With more than 444 educational sessions, innovation was everywhere. However, there was an underlying theme that seemed to permeate the show: simplicity.

As a disclaimer, I did not attend all 444 educational sessions. But I heard from many attendees, including presenters, members, exhibitors and journalists, that innovation is crucial to the success of the industry but so is simplicity. Healthcare is growing more complex every day but complexity is not fixed with more complexity. We need to simplify how healthcare is delivered and empower our clinicians to provide the best possible care.

Our clinicians need to focus on what they do best. It’s our job as software vendors, IT managers and innovators to better support clinicians in providing excellent care to their patients. Healthcare providers have made enormous investments in technology to improve patient care and productivity. But have they achieved their goal?

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DICOM,Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine,ECM,Enterprise content management,Hyland,PACS,vendor-neutral archive,VNA

What makes you so special, DICOM?

Steve Rudland

Steve Rudland, EMEA Healthcare Practice Leader, Hyland, creator of OnBase

Back in May 2011 I was talking to a doctor at The Guardian’s sadly short-lived Health Network show in London.  We were talking about what Enterprise Content Management actually meant, and specifically about what sort of content OnBase by Hyland could manage.

“Everything…” I said.  “Any unstructured information.  Whatever doesn’t fit comfortably into the rows and columns and tables of a database.  Your EMR is for your discrete patient data.  Your ECM system is for all of the unstructured information that completes that record: the letters, the photographs, the diagnostic outputs, the scanned paper…”

“So, what about medical images?” he asked.  “What about DICOM?”

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Carestream,EHR,electronic health record,interoperability,vendor-neutral archive,VNA

New information-sharing platforms break down departmental barriers that inhibit easy access to images and data

Cristine Kao, Global Marketing and Growth Operations Director for Healthcare Information Solutions, Carestream

Cristine Kao, Global Marketing and Growth Operations Director for Healthcare Information Solutions, Carestream

There is a growing expectation that quality healthcare depends on the ability to securely deliver clinical information to anyone who needs it, anytime and anywhere. This requires healthcare providers to provide authorized users with flexible, easy access to all types of clinical images and data.

This goal is challenging for several reasons. Rapid advancements in information technology and a growing health IT marketplace brought a rush of vendors into the arena. The proliferation of different systems achieved a huge growth in both the volume and variety of information. Much of this data is unstructured and often is stored without appropriate clinical context, which inhibits the ability to efficiently identify and access it across the enterprise.

EHRs are inherently built around structured digital data, including patient demographics, admission status, physical and diagnostic notes, prescriptions, discharge status, and many other fi­elds. However, true interoperability requires providing integration with access to unstructured data as well. Images, videos, mobile uploads, scanned documents, emails, and many other forms of clinical data that are needed for healthcare decisions may not have a structure that makes them easy to incorporate into an EHR.

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Bath NHS trust,Betts Envirometal,Ghana,Recycling,silver,X-ray film

Recycling efficiency in the healthcare industry doesn’t need to be expensive: Betts Envirometal

Increasing scrutiny is being leveled at companies across all industries in regards to their environmental performance, but it’s a common fear that the price of doing right by the environment will be a steep one financially. This has historically been the case in the healthcare industry, as much as in any other. However, recent developments in both recycling techniques, and changes in processes made by recycling companies, have made the ethical disposal of waste more easy, efficient and affordable. 

The bad old days

While efficient recycling of waste has long been pushed as a goal for both businesses and individual citizens; by policymakers, pressure groups, and society as a whole, it’s only recently that doing so was a viable option. Not only have prices been extortionately high in the past, but recycling facilities were once rare and inefficiently equipped compared to their modern counterparts.

The techniques utilized were underdeveloped and less efficient; and facilities were underused by the public: just 7.5 percent of household waste was recycled in the UK during 1995. In isolation that figure may not be so surprising, but the figure, as of May 2013, had grown to 43 percent; indicating massive growth.

Inefficiency comes in many guises. However, especially when it comes to recycling, if materials aren’t dealt with in the correct manner it can lead to all sorts of complications down the line. Therefore, when companies seek to cut costs, and are resultantly unwilling to ask too many harsh questions of those they pay to do so, the results can be damaging to both the environment, and in extreme cases, human lives.

A glaring example of this was uncovered in 2003, when a Daily Mail report uncovered the illegal dumping of NHS e-waste in Ghana.  E-waste from Western countries is dropped en-masse into landfills in Ghana, as well as other developing, or less environmentally regulated countries, while the organizations believe that it’s being disposed of ethically. This is then picked apart by locals to whom the scavenging is their sole, desperate source of income. 

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