Seeking 3D Solution? Look to the Cloud

Advanced visualization—for all of its benefits—also comes with its challenges, said Robert Taylor, PhD, president and CEO of TeraRecon, who outlines the challenges in this way: it is expensive (you have to have enough volume to justify investment in a complete system); it is an IT deployment (you need an IT department to deploy and manage it); and it is confined to your organization (if you need to reach outside your organization to share or collaborate, it can get complicated).

In order to respond to these challenges, the company announced iNtuition CLOUD late last year. With this new solution in place, new customers can have their iNtuition UNLIMITED licenses hosted within the company’s cloud solution. To date, more than 400 users have signed up for evaluation accounts, which were offered free of charge to professional attendees at RSNA ’10 and continue to be available at

On the client side, iNtuition CLOUD functions as a browser link, according to the company. After logging in, the user can start to work with their studies. On the server side, when a user connects and logs in to their account, the cloud establishes a secure link to an appropriate server from the company’s global network that has the user’s data and is located in a geographically appropriate location.

According to the company, new iNtuition CLOUD features include improvements to the iNtuition Uploader technology to support compressed upload and enhanced support for “multi-tenancy” on the “farm” of cloud services, which allows multiple virtual servers to exist on the same hardware, each virtual server supporting a different customer or institution. In addition to providing secure browser-based access to the advanced iNtuition client, mobile devices (beta) and the secure AquariusWEB zero-footprint Web viewer can also be used to access the iNtuition CLOUD servers.

At RSNA, those who received demos of iNtuition CLOUD were surprised to learn that the process was as easy as uploading their scan to the cloud without needing to download any data to their PCs, says Taylor.

“Before, it was never possible to justify spending tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy a 3D solution if your volume was low, but now it’s becoming possible to still provide that kind of service, cost-effectively,” said Taylor, who noted that incremental cost for TeraRecon to sign on a new user is pretty low. Because of the low cost, TeraRecon can pass its savings on to users. In fact, said Taylor, “even if you’re only doing one advanced visualization study a week, we can cater to that.”

Because the full suite of tools is available via a Web browser, the demands on a facility’s internal IT department will be minimal, according to the company. Instead, with iNtuition CLOUD in place, TeraRecon “becomes the ‘IT department,'” which, noted Taylor, has come as a welcome alternative to health care facilities. So far, he’s found that physicians appreciate that TeraRecon can provide a richer support experience than the typical IT department.

According to the company, research organizations, in particular, have been enthusiastic about the ability of TeraRecon’s cloud solution to allow collaboration with colleagues in other institutions. While advanced visualization was once confined within firewalls, the Cloud version of this solution allows researchers to send a study to a colleague’s account in iNtuition CLOUD or by sharing a Web link.

“Once a research team realizes that iNtuition CLOUD is not just about sharing images across the Internet, but actually accessing, using, and collaborating with a complete set of quantitative advanced visualization tools, well, that changes everything,” said Taylor, who believes that his company’s offering “promises to disrupt the way research is performed and how advanced visualization is used clinically.”

Taylor concedes that one of the biggest challenges is that health care providers have to get comfortable with the legal, regulatory, and security aspects of putting patient data into the cloud and entrusting it to a third party like TeraRecon. He’s aware that legal and regulatory departments within health care facilities will need to develop the right contractual and policy frameworks that will allow them to use iNtuition CLOUD and still comply with HIPAA, HITECH, and all of the other applicable obligations. The company’s immediate goal is to get health care facilities talking about the possibilities related to iNtuition CLOUD.

Over the next few months, the company will be working closely with its evaluators to determine how cloud-based advanced visualization can be properly integrated into the provision of health care in heavily regulated markets, like the United States. “2011 will be the year that iNtuition CLOUD ‘arrives’ in a very meaningful way as a part of the advanced visualization landscape,” said Taylor.

—Aine Cryts

Draw a Bead on HIMSS

Trying to get a jump start before you head to HIMSS? Here’s a small sampling of what to expect. Once in Orlando, make a beeline for these booths?then explore the whole floor!

Merge iConnect Kiosk

Booth #3348: Merge iConnect from Merge Healthcare

Merge Healthcare will unveil Merge iConnect, an image exchange software suite that facilitates the cost-effective sharing of diagnostic content and provides real-time image access via any Web-enabled device. Providing an IHE-compliant architecture, Merge iConnect is available in a series of vendor-agnostic modules.

Benefits associated with Merge iConnect and available on a modular basis include a zero-footprint image-sharing platform that eliminates the need for VPNs, preconfigured DICOM connections, and CD transport, and a zero-download DICOM and XDS viewer for anytime/anywhere mobile access. This solution also boasts a vendor-neutral archive to consolidate diagnostic imaging data for all “‘ologies,” departments, and locations. Users will have access to a comprehensive interoperability platform that enables sharing and viewing of content across a set of heterogeneous patient IDs, source systems, and data types.

Finally, iConnect provides a module that delivers self check-in kiosk technology with unique avatar-based, live-assist functionality; this module automates data capture earlier in the workflow process, which eliminates paper, while optimizing staff efficiency.

Booth #2744: Nuance?s PowerScribe 360/eScription Integration

Merge iConnect Kiosk

Nuance Communications Inc will highlight PowerScribe 360, which will be integrated with the eScription Platform, a background health information management (HIM) speech platform, for the first time. PowerScribe 360 combines a speech recognition engine (Dragon Medical) for core radiology reporting with added features, including critical test result management, external data capture, multisite workflow support, and structured reporting into a single solution?all tools that have never been offered as part of a traditional radiology speech recognition system. This integration will enable health care organizations to take an enterprise-wide approach to their clinical documentation strategy, while allowing for a single medical transcription platform for shared medical transcription resources across departments.

Booth #1348: Carestream Health’s Clinical Data Archive and eHealth Portal

Carestream Health?s Clinical Data Archive

Carestream Health will present Carestream Clinical Data Archive, which provides a cost-effective, consolidated data storage and management solution for any data type, regardless of vendor. Converting proprietary image data into a vendor-neutral format that helps to preserve data integrity and streamline data among authorized users and facilities, this enterprise-wide solution simplifies IT administrative functions and reduces costs. Using XDS, XDS-I, WADO, DICOM, and HL7 standards and accommodating non-DICOM objects, this multi-tier data repository can be implemented within any environment to protect users from future obsolescence.

And there’s more. With Carestream Health’s new eHealth Portal service, health care providers who use the company’s remotely hosted archiving service can allow access to that data by any authorized user anywhere in the world via the Internet. Benefits of this new solution include cost-effective data sharing and collaboration among providers, imaging centers, radiologists, referring physicians, and other clinicians or staff.

The eHealth Portal service is part of the company’s portfolio of cloud-based, fee-for-use services that also includes remote archiving for disaster recovery/business continuity and eHealth PACS Services that deliver all the functionality of PACS by equipping providers and remote clinicians to share patient information and images through access to secure, remote data centers hosted and managed by Carestream Health.

Booth #6471: McKesson’s Clinical and Financial Solutions

McKesson Corp will present solutions that help hospitals and practices improve their clinical and financial well-being, including:

Horizon Clinicals, which provides a common view of the patient across settings and episodes of care, which enables the care team to deliver the best possible care;

Horizon Enterprise Revenue Management, which combines innovative rules-based software, connectivity services, and best practices for managing revenue;

Paragon, which is an integrated clinical and financial HIS for community hospitals that helps manage patient safety, revenue cycle management, and regulatory compliance;

Enterprise image management and workflow solutions, which capture more of what organizations can earn by optimizing revenue, minimizing compliance risk, and guiding health care providers through complex reimbursement for radiology/cardiology diagnostic imaging.