The Healthcare Information Management and Systems Society (HIMSS) kicks off its annual conference and exhibition on April 9 in Dallas with some new features.

In addition to the Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) program making its debut this year (see sidebar), HIMSS will feature a CIO Symposium, whereby healthcare CIOs will have specialized briefing sessions with vendors and high-level sessions on strategic and management issues.

HIMSS also will take a cue from the Radiological Society of North America in instituting an Internet pavilion to demonstrate its newest products and services, Internet-based messaging capabilities and the HIMSS Event News Network (ENN), which will broadcast program schedules and news and interviews on-site and into attendees’ hotel rooms.

And for those who have been asking where Ross Perot has been this election year, guess what? He’s been busy preparing for his keynote address at HIMSS. Perot, president and CEO of Perot Systems Corp. (Dallas), will speak on April 10 at 8:00 a.m. Other keynote speakers include healthcare author and speaker Ian Morrison and National Football League hall of famer Gale Sayers.

On the exhibit side of HIMSS, integration will be a big theme among vendors. Mitra Imaging Inc. (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada) plans to promote its next-generation PACS Broker product line. The Connector suite links a radiology department with the rest of the hospital, providing connectivity between the department information systems and imaging modalities. The suite is available in configurations for radiology and cardiology and soon will expand into other clinical departments.

“For HIMSS, we’re telling people that this is no longer a radiology-only solution,” said James Herrewynen, marketing manager for Mitra. “We’re targeting this for multiple departments. The idea is to extract important data and image information out of the department and make it available to the electronic patient record.”

Mitra also is providing its PACS Broker to the IHE initiative. All Mitra products support the IHE technical framework.

s04b.jpg (15780 bytes)Data General’s HIMSS booth will feature a diagnostic viewing area, which will include the IntraScanII client workstation, DG/UX image server and Barco monitors.

Data General Corp. (Westboro, Mass.) has titled its show theme “Connection to Your Enterprise.” In addition to its standard PACS product line, DG will feature a podium presentation on Web content development on April 10 by Jonathan Schaffer, CEO of Harmonie Group Inc. (Boston). Harmonie Group is a group of researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Boston), which develops and implements technologies to improve communication among patients and healthcare providers.

On April 11, Ken Waldbillig, PACS operations manager, delivers a speech on the Five Elements of PACS. The booth will feature a diagnostic viewing area, which will include the IntraScanII client workstation, DG/UX image server and monitors from Barco Display Systems Inc. (Duluth, Ga.)

s04a.jpg (8147 bytes)Siemens’ MagicWeb allows physicians using a standard PC running a Web browser to access and display radiology images and reports.

Siemens Medical Systems (Iselin, N.J.) plans two announcements at HIMSS 2000. The first is its new Multimedia Messaging (M3) product, which allows for the integration of voice, e-mail and fax messaging for the clinician. M3 will convert information in an e-mail into a voice mail message and leave it in a voice mail box for retrieval from any phone.

Siemens also will announce that radiology images and reports now are available through the Web using Siemens MagicWeb. Any referring physician office using a personal computer that runs a standard Internet browser can access and display radiology images and reports anywhere.

Analogic Corp. (Peabody, Mass.) will introduce its iWorks medical imaging management solution. iWorks is used to integrate PACS, computed radiography, digital radiography and DICOM in hospitals and clinics. It features an open and flexible client/server architecture to configure multiple inputs for digital imaging applications. A series of new products will be based on the iWorks platform, including PACS workstations for image review and quality assurance applications.

eMed Technologies Corp. (Lexington, Mass.) will emphasize Internet-based products. provides access to diagnostic images and relevant information for clinicians via the Internet. The service includes a medical image viewing application, with integrated access to medical images and reports along with other relevant information through an individual Web site. The service targets private practice radiologists, radiology groups and hospital radiology departments.

eMed also will exhibit its Framewave Web product which combines Internet-based client/server technology with electronic patient information systems to enable the secure distribution of diagnostic reports and images throughout the enterprise over the facility’s intranet or public Internet.

s04c.jpg (8863 bytes)Direct Radiography Corp.’s Epex is a freestanding, general-purpose DR system

Direct Radiography Corp. (Newark, Del.) heads to HIMSS with new products that incorporate direct-to-digital image-capture systems. DRC’s new Epex is a free-standing, fully integrated DR system for general-purpose radiology. Designed for high throughput, enhanced image quality and long-term reliability, Epex replaces the wall and the table bucky in a conventional radiographic room.

The company’s new Radex product offers head-to-toe bucky capability when combined with a moveable patient support. A wall-mounted system, Radex is designed for use with ambulatory patients.

DRC also plans to demonstrate its latest version of its operator console in the HIMSS IHE area. The console commands all image capture functions within an examination room. It controls the DirectRay detector array and exposure equipment subsystems, while connecting to the hospital RIS for input of patient and exam data and to a PACS for output of patient, exam and image data.

Agfa Corp. (Ridgefield Park, N.J.) will display version 4 of its Impax workstation software. New features include cacheless architecture and image compression for on-demand image access and routing. The updated release is downward compatible with existing Impax systems, including R3.5. Also featured at the Agfa booth will be the ADC Solo CR reader, ADC workstation, Solid Inkjet 100 printer and MIL-PACS products.

A.L.I. Technologies Inc. (Richmond, British Columbia, Canada) unveils its UltraPacs Version 4.2 at HIMSS, featuring an Oracle 8i database advanced search features and annotation and cine tools. This latest version is in full production and currently used in clinical operations in several locations.

The Oracle 8i database adds superior data redundancy to ensure reliability and meet the needs of large, multi-site PACS implementations. Physicians can search for studies via traditional criteria, e.g., patient name or date, or advanced search filters, which will provide seamless access to data.

HIMSS to feature IHE Year One demonstration

After a successful introduction at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) show in November, the Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) Year One demonstration is prepared for a second showing at the upcoming HIMSS conference this month in Dallas.

The IHE project is a joint program between HIMSS and RSNA to promote connectivity between radiology equipment, PACS, HIS and RIS vendors. IHE seeks to achieve this integration by connecting and integrating, through an open-architecture, the featured exhibitors’ technologies based on existing standards, such as HL7 and DICOM.

After several delays, IHE held its inaugural demonstration at RSNA ’99 to mostly positive reviews.

As with the RSNA demonstration, there will be four Simulated Healthcare Enterprises (SHEs) at HIMSS 2000, each modeled after a different hospital. Within each SHE, visitors will be introduced to a patient’s ailment – ranging from a torn knee ligament to suspected appendicitis – and watch as his or her information is entered into the hospital’s records system. That record will be available instantly to a radiology department where X-ray, ultrasound and other images are integrated into the system.

A group of 100 people can come in to the SHE at a time and view an introductory video presentation and then disperse into groups of 25 to visit individual SHEs.

Unlike the RSNA exhibit, HIMSS will host IHE-specific courses, rather than separate offerings following the presentation. HIMSS’ IHE program will include a daily session on the practical implications of the IHE demonstration and another segment that examines the Year 2 scope. Schedules for the classes were not available at press time.

ALI Jot, an optional annotation tool, allows users to add freehand drawings and exam observation notes to ultrasound images, aiding communication between imaging technician and physician, or between users in different departments.

McKessonHBOC Inc. (San Francisco) focuses on a new physician Internet offering which comes partially through the acquisition of Inc. provides connectivity of physician practices to integrated delivery networks, pharmacy benefit managers, payors, laboratories and pharmacies.

McKessonHBOC has been working on additional applications to include claims eligibility and claims processing.

McKessonHBOC closed on the Abaton acquisition in October 1999. HIMSS 2000 is the first chance to show integrated product lines.

StorComm Inc. (Jacksonville, Fla.) will demonstrate a combination of new and expanded features to its ImageAccess 4.0 clinical image management system (CIMS). ImageAccess 4.0 is designed to integrate all imaging modalities in a healthcare enterprise with electronic patient records (EPR) and other healthcare IT systems. As a result, a healthcare facility can manage all its clinical data using one program.

Features include a Microsoft SQL server 7.0 database, enhanced DICOM queries, independent exam display for related exams, expanded security and customized toolbar buttons as part of the user-defined preferences profile.

StorComm’s new MedChat allows physicians to consult remotely within a healthcare network, while viewing the same image. Remote consultation takes place via a MedChat room among multiple StorComm MedView review stations.

s04d.gif (7922 bytes)VitalCom’s PatientBrowser allows physicians constant access to high acuity patients.

Access to patient files over networks is another hot topic with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) soon to become final. VitalCom Inc. (Tustin, Calif.) will show its PatientBrowser product, an application that allows secured Internet access to high acuity patients. PatientBrowser enables physicians to have constant access to their patients’ real-time care status by bringing live and retrospective monitored patient information, from nearly any manufacturer or monitoring device via the Internet.

Patient information from a variety of monitors and brands is integrated into the PatientNet system and is available via PatientViewers located throughout the healthcare enterprise. With the addition of PatientBrowser, caregivers use a Web browser and secure Internet connection to view real-time waveform, retrospective history events or full disclosure information.

Algotec Systems Ltd. (Duluth, Ga.) introduces two new products at HIMSS 2000 aimed at easing the process of providing radiology reports to referral physicians. MedE-Mail software combines radiology reports with thumbnails of key images and sends them to referring physicians over the Internet. Physicians wanting more detail also will have access to in-depth radiology studies, without having to purchase any special software applications.

CE Surf is a portable CD-ROM storage system for physicians who do not use the Internet. With CE Surf, a patient’s radiological report and complete study are stored on one CD. Algotec estimates that a single CD costs the same as one piece of film, thus reducing the costs associated with a study that typically requires several pieces of film, plus processing.

MedPlus Inc. (Cincinnati) will feature its new pact with Cybear Inc. (Boca Raton, Fla.) to license MedPlus’s ChartMaxx software to Cybear for installation on Cybear’s Internet servers at its operations center in Florida. ChartMaxx is an enterprisewide patient record system that enables healthcare providers to comply with HIPAA. Using ChartMaxx in the secure environment provided by Cybear, physicians will gain real-time access to critical clinical and demographic data and to be connected via the internet to their patients’ hospitals, pharmacies, provider networks and laboratories.

InterSystems Corp. (Cambridge, Mass.) showcases two examples of Cache, its flagship database system for Web applications. Cache is a post-relational database with a multidimensional data and application server offering ultra-fast objects and SQL, with massive scalability capabilities.

Sentillion Inc. (Andover, Mass.) hopes to capture the HIMSS audience with its Vergence software development kit (SDK), an inclusive development environment that simplifies and accelerates implementation of the CCOW standard in applications. Sentillion says vendors which have downloaded Vergence SDK from the company’s Website report slashing development time by 80 percent to 90 percent.

Dome Imaging Systems Inc. (Waltham, Mass.) features a new line of digital flat-panel displays. Available in both grayscale and color, the Clarity3G and the Clarity3C displays offer the technological and cost benefits of all-digital flat-panel technology. Dome also shows its Md5/DFP display controller, capable of driving both displays.

Dome’s Clarity displays use active matrix liquid crystal display technology, allowing for the image display to be consistent for the life of the display. Images on the Clarity displays are distortion-free, displaying edge sharpness and brightness not possible on CRT monitors.

s04e.gif (8794 bytes)Using Versus Technology’s Room Ready VIS enhancement, the green lights and shading
displayed on a computer floor plan signal that those rooms are clean and available.

Versus Technology Inc. (Traverse City, Mich.) heads to HIMSS with enhancements to its Versus Information System (VIS), an infrared locating and data collection system that enables staff to quickly locate equipment and people within a facility. VIS is comprised of a network of badges and sensors that identify and receive location information, providing instant access to people and equipment in high-activity environments, such as medical complexes.

Recent software enhancements to the VIS package have been designed to increase facility throughput and staff efficiency. They are: Icon Aging to monitor patient wait times, and Room Ready to identify clean rooms. Additional software enhancements include the Hand Washing Compliance and the Perimeter Alarm Sentinel programs. VIS asset management software is designed to provide medical staff maximum use of portable equipment and an efficient system of asset management. end.gif (810 bytes)