Managing the Flow in Radiology

New Appliance Serves Mobile Imaging Needs
Just IMAGINE: Enhancing Practice Management Software
Kardia Expands Offerings
Streamline with Carestream’s New Digital Dashboard

New Appliance Serves Mobile Imaging Needs

In mobile environments, with coaches traveling to different locations, the ability for a system to work across multiple vendors proves useful, something to which Candelis customers can attest.

That’s because vendor neutrality has been designed into a new dedicated DICOM-compliant archive appliance from the medical informatics company, based in Irvine, Calif.

Through its tower configuration, the iMED-Stor 300 was specifically engineered to provide secure, cost-effective management of digital medical images and studies for stand-alone imaging operations, such as private practices, hospital departments, imaging centers, and multiphysician clinics.

“The mobile imaging market has its own sets of unique challenges,” said Hossein Pourmand, Candelis vice president of business development. “For example, mobile imaging trucks and coaches must accommodate different kinds of customer environments—different PACS, workstations, and modalities. As they generate all that data from a mobile imaging facility, they need to have a very cost-effective and easy way of archiving the information and sending it to a radiologist before work piles up. There is much value in our small footprint, but rich software capability, because we can handle the entire requirement quickly and make it available to a radiologist miles and miles away.”

With much engineering effort toward making it fault tolerant, the iMed-Stor sports HIPAA-compliant archiving and advanced features, such as teleradiology, through a diagnostic Web viewer, or system integration with existing EMR, RIS, or HIS. Candelis offers a general radiology viewer, for CT, ultrasound, CR, and DR, in addition to a separate viewer for digital mammography, with its own set of hanging protocols and tools. According to Pourmand, the product’s designers have put in numerous redundancies to reduce downtime significantly, appealing to smaller facilities that have more limited budgets than their enterprise counterparts.

Pourmand said the company has taken out the inherent complexities from the technology and have simplified it for easy customer implementation. “The user can just take it out of the box, plug it into the network jack, and power it up,” he continued, adding that training is minimal. Furthermore, upon completion of a preinstallation survey, customers can receive systems that have been configured to their personal settings ahead of time.

Additional iMed-Stor 300 features include RAID 5 archiving with raw capacity points of 1, 2, 3, or 4 TB; an embedded database with DICOM engine; and Web-based system administration. It also includes multiple AE system titles for archive partitioning by multiphysician practices, SSL connection support, the ability to attach encapsulated user documents such as PDF reports in DICOM format to an imaging study and archiving, and manual and automated DICOM routing. Customers have options for HL7 support for integration with EMR, RIS, or HIS; modality worklist and patient registration; and tape drive for data backup.

The iMed-Stor 300 retails for $3,999, with RAID 5 archiving and 1TB memory capacity, and it is priced higher for additional capacity configurations. An optional Web-based DICOM viewer is available for $999.

—Elaine Sanchez

Just IMAGINE: Enhancing Practice Management Software

Everyone wants technology to work better and smarter. Now, IMAGINE is doing just that. To enhance the capabilities of its current radiology practice management software, Technology Partners, dba IMAGINE Software, of Charlotte, NC, recently launched IMAGINEradiology 5.0 “Optimus Edition.”

The software, which is based on the look and feel of Microsoft Office, aims to improve workflow efficiency and the degree of automation. Incorporating a complete suite of billing, management, and analysis tools, IMAGINEradiology 5.0 features advanced technology that allows for extensive, new configurations, user customizations, and system integration. It is built on the principles of adaptive open architecture and best practices, offering a streaming dashboard, enhanced security, decision support, and workflow automation tools.

The new “Optimus Edition” of IMAGINEradiology 5.0 features many customizable features.

“IMAGINEradiology 5.0 delivers the power of true information that is readily available to practices, enabling proactive and predictive management for appositive impact on the practice’s bottom line,” said Sam Khashman, Technology Partners CEO. “Our continued drive to innovate and provide the most reliable and efficient systems in the marketplace is fueled by the passion that our employees have for our customers, partners, and this industry.”

Included in the product suite is the Practice Manager, the system’s foundation that provides comprehensive billing, collections, and reporting specific to a practice’s needs without a limit to tax-ID or database site. Also, an Autocoder allows users to autocode the CPT and ICD-9 from paper and electronic reports, an EOBreader automatically posts payments from paper EOBs or electronic remittance, and an iDashboard monitors a practice’s performance with real-time graphic illustrations. With this tool, users can incorporate their goals, track achievement, and create customized dashboards.

Charge Central is a centralized holding station for incomplete charge information that provides easy access to all necessary data, while trueICE stores and retrieves account information. Additionally, Ad Hoc Reporting enables system administrators to retrieve and manipulate raw IMAGINE data from drop-down menus into a rich text or Excel file format.

IMAGINEradiology 5.0 is appliance-enabled, Windows Vista compatible, and SQL Server 2008 ready. It holds the plug-and-play philosophy, and it is upward/backward compatible with classic or Optimus navigation. This eliminates the need for conversions or training, according to the company.

Khashman pointed out that there will be no fee for current IMAGINE platform customers to upgrade to this latest version of the software.

—Elaine Sanchez

Kardia Expands Offerings

In a move to offer a more comprehensive line of cardiology products and services, Kardia Health Systems Inc, of Rochester, Minn, recently announced its acquisition of Freeland Systems, of Westminster, Colo, a provider of multimodality medical imaging and reporting software solutions.

With the acquisition, Kardia strives to provide its customers with a complete, vendor-neutral, Web-based clinical, diagnostic, and reporting solution for end-to-end management of multiple imaging modalities. Specifically, it allows the company to offer evidence-based medicine (EBM) echo reporting for adults, congenital echo reporting for children and adults, as well as vascular reporting on a software-as-a-service or Web access model to Freeland’s 1,600 users.

“The majority of these users are all ultrasound labs in smaller clinics, and the ability for these users to continuously evaluate and purchase state-of-the-art reporting software is limited,” said Wayne Schellhammer, executive VP of Kardia Health Systems. “This acquisition allows for the conversion at minimal cost for users, and they will have access to state-of-the-art reporting supported via the Kardia relationship with the Mayo Clinic and its EBM databases through the Kardia Web-based delivery model.”

Kardia’s flagship product is its Kardia E reporting and workflow solution, which streamlines the clinical workflow process, including patient scheduling, template-guided entry of medical information, and automation of interpretive diagnostic statements, accreditation requirements, and billing codes. Freeland offers a suite of products under its ACCESSPOINT line, which will expand beyond workflow management to encompass data storage and disaster recovery, retrieval, distribution, and presentation of both reports and images. The ACCESSPOINT Web Viewer, with database access, secure image transfer, and a server interface, is a key component of a PACS or EMR system. Other ACCESSPOINT solutions permit practitioners to leverage modular solutions required for their business, such as data mining, image storage and reporting, and Web delivery of diagnostic quality products. Also, ACCESSPOINT PACsLink brings together imaging modalities, such as echocardiography and nuclear CT, for display on any computer.

Schellhammer explained that a Web-based or SaaS product allows for multiple users in a protected domain to have access to their records anytime from any Internet connection. This results in faster and easier access, mobility, and flexibility to physicians. Moreover, the software is maintained and updated without the user having any interruptions. While non-Web-based products require individual site updating and management, leading to higher costs, Kardia’s Web-based solution affords the business global delivery without physically expanding each area of the company.

“Software support both technically and clinically can be delivered from one location to the data centers around the world,” Schellhammer said. “We can remain the least expensive product on the market while providing the highest clinical value by delivering our product sets via the worldwide Web.”

Through its partnerships, Kardia emphasizes what it refers to as “collective intelligence.”

“The Kardia Collective Intelligence efforts are very special,” Schellhammer said. “By forging ahead with a Web-based product, we can gain licensure with many different medical research and intellectual resources and apply their knowledge to our product sets and provide the enriched result to everyone immediately.”

Kardia Health Systems is the sole licensee of the Mayo Clinic-created Echocardiography Information Management System.

—E. Sanchez

Streamline with Carestream’s New Digital Dashboard

When it comes to technology and workflow, the watchword today is “streamline.” As of June 19, the most recent version of the Digital Dashboard system from Carestream Health Inc, Rochester, NY, is now available worldwide. The dashboard supports both the company’s RIS/PACS and its Information Management Solutions, offering system administrators an easy-to-use platform for monitoring equipment performance, storage utilization, and user volumes.

Carestream’s new digital dashboard supports RIS/PACS and IMS.

“We were one of the first sites to use Digital Dashboard when it was being built, so we’ve been using it for at least 2 years now,” said Leslie Beidleman, PACS administrator for Mercy Health Partners (MHP), Toledo, Ohio. MHP has three metropolitan facilities using a central server as well as three rural facilities. “Between the six, I’m accessing at least four servers at any given time,” Beidleman said. “With the Dashboard system, with the click of a mouse I can go from one server to another server checking the status.”

This ease of navigation allows Beidleman to simultaneously monitor processes, number of users, scheduled orders, performed orders, images stored, and much more for all four servers—all from her desk. It’s a welcome change from the way Beidleman worked before, she says. “I spent a lot more time in front of the computer logging into the servers, or I’d be down in the data center logging into the server and remoting into those in rural areas,” she said. “It has streamlined my ability to do my job.”

The latest version of Digital Dashboard allows users to generate both RIS and PACS reports, permitting administrators to easily view snapshots of exam progress and other workflow characteristics. “We have the capability with device metrics to be able to query based on different things—scheduled versus performed orders and so on,” Beidleman said. “That makes it nice because I can click on a device metric and see what’s going on with CR at any of our locations. I can produce a graph or a text file, then show it to the manager of that department and say, ‘Here’s what I see going on here.’ It gives them useful input that I can pull together without having to do it all manually.”

The enhanced user interface in the most recent version of the software allows maintenance checklists to be managed separately for each server, another major benefit. “Disk space, database table size, the last time the system was backed up, how long it’s been up and running—the checklists can be marked completed, and I can run a report that tells me when they’re done,” Beidleman said. “It’s a nice QA tool because a lot of the daily checks are done by logging into the UNIX system. After that, I can go in and mark them all.”

Beidleman also appreciates the Dashboard’s tabs, which connect to service and support, the user group and more. “I can create tabs myself, so this can become even more in-depth,” she added. “I can put any Web page there as a reference.”

Overall, she says, the Dashboard is a useful tool for both IT and the imaging department. “From an IT point of view, the monitoring of the disk space and the number of studies helps us project how much storage we’ll need to purchase going forward,” she said. “From an imaging department point of view, I have the capability to produce any information they ask me for. And to be able to produce that information very efficiently is paramount.”

—Cat Vasko