Managing the Flow in Radiology

By Cat Vasko

RSNA Preview: IHE Booth
Philips Acquires XIMIS, Integrates XIRIS

RSNA Preview: IHE Booth

Established by the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) and the Healthcare Information and Manage-ment Systems Society (HIMSS), the Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) initiative celebrates its 10th birthday at this year’s annual meeting of the RSNA. IHE’s goal is improving patient care by standardizing the way health systems exchange information.

The September issue of RSNA News provides a preview of what the IHE booth has in store at this year’s RSNA meeting. Vendors will showcase products specifically integrated for image sharing, and a new teaching file service will debut. But what may be most surprising, RSNA Radiology Informatics Committee Chair David Avrin, MD, PhD, told the News, is the degree to which IHE has expanded in the past year, addressing exchange of EHRs and “integration across the spectrum of care.”

Again this year there will be an IHE Image Sharing Demonstration highlighting IHE’s methods for sharing medical images across a health information exchange network. Research groups and vendors alike will walk through clinical scenarios that demonstrate the development of a patient history over a series of events at different care sites; though the demonstration will be based in the Lakeside Learning Center, satellite demonstrations will also take place in vendor booths on the exhibit floor.

New this year is the IHE-compliant product showcase, a special demonstration area featuring only products compliant with the IHE Teaching File and Clinical Trial Export profile. These systems will send images to RSNA’s “My MIRC Files,” which is a Web-based system enabling radiologists to digitally store teaching files.

“The ideal time to add a case to a digital teaching file is at the point of care—when we read the exam and have both the images and the clinical history conveniently in front of us,” noted David S. Mendelson, MD, chair of the IHE subcommittee of the RSNA Radiology Informatics Committee. “The addition of My MIRC Files will especially serve the many community radiologists who are not in a position to build and support an electronic teaching file, yet very much desire to have one.”

IHE also provides many of the technical specifications adopted by the Health Information Technology Standards Panel, which the Department of Health and Human Services charges with selecting interoperability standards.

“This will be a significant event,” Avrin said. “We are excited to offer these demonstrations. They give attendees the opportunity to be part of an experience that is revolutionizing health care image sharing and communication.”

Philips Acquires XIMIS, Integrates XIRIS

Philips Medical Systems, Andover, Mass, announced in August its planned acquisition of XIMIS Inc, El Paso, Tex. The transaction will incorporate XIMIS into the Healthcare Informatics business group of Philips, with XIMIS’ key product, XIRIS, stepping up to the plate as Philips’ new RIS solution.

“Philips has a RIS at the moment, and the history of that RIS goes back to the 90s, when it was designed for Western European countries,” explained Wim Vaatstra, COO, Healthcare Informatics, Philips. “RIS is very dependent on the way a radiology department works. That’s different in Germany, the Netherlands, the United States. If something is developed for a specific country, it’s difficult to globalize it.”

XIRIS manages patient registration, scheduling, exam tracking, staff and resource management, and the generation of reports and statistical information. As a complement to the iSite PACS, which focuses on image management and distribution, XIRIS will streamline workflow and reduce errors for Philips customers.

“This is a next-generation RIS, making use of Web-enabled applications and more modern database concepts, which give it much more flexibility,” said Vaatstra. “XIRIS also has been developed specifically for global distribution. It’s a multilingual system; we have versions in English, Spanish, and Hebrew, and it’s easy to add a new language to it.”

Vaatstra notes that more and more, particularly in Europe, customers are looking for a combined RIS/PACS solution. “They don’t want the hassle of dealing with two vendors, and those two vendors pointing at each other whenever something does not work,” he said. “Almost 70% of PACS customers in Europe require an integrated solution. We see a similar development happening in the United States.”

By integrating its existing iSite PACS product with the more powerful, Web-based XIMIS RIS product, Philips is positioned to fulfill the market’s new expectations. “We treat XIRIS in the same way as we deal with any other RIS we are integrated with,” Vaatstra said. “Yet we are looking at ways to make the integration more efficient for our customers, to optimize workflow, to integrate more data, and to minimize potential mishaps.”

The question is, how far can one synchronize the databases of the RIS and PACS? “Ultimately, we want to work with one common database,” Vaatstra said.

With the market penetration already achieved by Philips, a “big three” vendor, the only obstacle to filling the XIRIS orders will be ramping up delivery, according to Vaatstra. Katitza Gerdau, founder and CEO of XIMIS, concurs: “Philips is the right home for XIRIS since it has a high-quality organization with a global, international scope. This acquisition will provide XIRIS with a foundation for the future.”