· Mobile DR System a Winning One
· Viztek Moves Forward with Mammography
· Parascript Enters Market with Mammo CAD
· MD Buyline Ranks IDC Number One in DR

Mobile DR System a Winning One

Once Fauquier Hospital, of Warrenton, Va, completes its emergency department expansion project, its bed size will be increased by 50%. Because many of these exam rooms are located quite a distance from the main imaging department, hospital administrators recently turned to a solution from Florida-based Virtual Imaging called the RadPro Mobile Radiography system, with a Canon CXDI-50G detector. Patients, therefore, will be able to avoid the long trek.

“Our goal is to provide better care for our patients, by not requiring them to travel to the imaging department,” said Karla Kenefake-Hymans, director of medical imaging at the 86-bed community hospital. “We also want the staff to be as efficient as possible, by giving them great equipment that helps them do their job to the best of their ability. So the patients, the physicians, and staff are all winners with this great system.”

Currently undergoing final clinical testing, the latest edition of the RadPro Mobile will feature a noticeable improvement in the unit’s lower-profile design, according to Kriss Kessler, creative/marketing director at Virtual Imaging. “The previous version’s structure was tall, and most users were adamant that it was difficult to see around the machine when moving it to exam locations,” Kessler said. “By engineering a lower profile, we have increased the line of sight as well as allowing easier access and viewing for the digital control panel.”

Other improvements were included to make the digital detector and grid panel more accessible. For example, the detector holder, which is placed on the front of the mobile, was lowered and, to foster easy deployment and storage, was precisely angled. Also, features were added that facilitated storage and convenience for medical gloves, pens, notes, and radiology bags.

Combined with the Canon CXDI-50 Series Digital Radiography Multipurpose Flat Panel Detector, the RadPro Digital Mobile covers a large imaging area, at 14 inches x 17 inches. Diagnostic images are acquired 3 to 5 seconds after exposure, and there is seamless network integration with Ethernet 10/100 Base T connectivity, with DICOM 3.0 compatibility.

“The integration of these two systems improves workflow, patient throughput, and patient care,” Kessler said. “Fast processing times of the innovative detector make it easy to capture high-quality diagnostic images for routine diagnosis, as well as challenging trauma and bedside exams, while adding the flexibility in patient positioning and the ability to manage or manipulate images at bedside.”

—Elaine Sanchez

Viztek Moves Forward with Mammography

Medical imaging solutions provider Viztek, Jacksonville, Fla, has installed more than 1,500 CR solutions around the world since 1999. Now, through a recent agreement made with Israel-based Cintec, the company will try its hand in the mammography market.

“Clearly, the women’s health arena is growing,” said J. Roger Davis, CEO of Viztek, noting that there aren’t many vendors selling technology for this particular consumer. “As companies begin to offer more comprehensive digital solutions, we’d like to be a part of that migration.”

As Cintec’s exclusive global distributor, Viztek will offer a mammography acquisition system that offers a full range of accessories, as well as optional digital stereotactic biopsy capabilities. The systems are fully computer-controlled and are equipped with a master exposure control feature. This function combines the automatic selection of detector, filter, and imaging technique for each patient’s specific procedure, which therefore eliminates the guesswork involved in the selection of acquisition parameters. As a result, higher-quality images are produced, in addition to fewer retakes and less patient radiation exposure, Davis said.

Furthermore, the Cintec products feature dual focal spot and rotating biangular node to permit high-quality image magnification of up to 16 times without motion artifacts. The digital image-guided biopsy system allows for image enhancement, online data storage, and data manipulation.

Davis said he anticipates overseas distribution by the end of the first quarter. As for now, he said his company looks forward to combining its own skills with Cintec’s quality system. “In terms of Cintec, we view them as a very good-quality product, one that is stable and will deliver very well for price per performance,” Davis said. “Viztek has very strong distribution and IT capabilities, along with good domain expertise in the CR space. We understand digital solutions, and we understand health care IT.”

—E. Sanchez

Parascript Enters Market with Mammo CAD

There’s a new kid on the block. Image analysis and pattern recognition technology provider Parascript LLC, Boulder, Colo, now offers AccuDetect, CAD software for film-based or digital mammography exams. The introduction of AccuDetect marks Parascript’s debut in the medical imaging market.

AccuDetect leverages Parascript’s image analysis and recognition technology to automatically identify and mark suspicious areas, integrating several complementary algorithms and sophisticated voting methods. “Our algorithms are unique in their use of voting methods to boost sensitivity and lower false positive rates,” said Yuri Prizeman, director of product marketing for Parascript. Voting takes the output from two or more recognition algorithms and combines the results. It is designed to eliminate errors and increase accuracy at the same time.

“Voting takes the recognition results from multiple algorithms and compares them—in some cases eliminating an algorithm, in others combining them to improve the results,” Prizeman continued. “Different algorithms can give multiple answers, such as confidence levels, types, locations, and dimensions of breast lesions, and these output results are used in voting.”

Until now, Parascript’s capabilities in extracting and interpreting meaningful information from images have not been applied to the field of medical imaging; in the past, the company has worked in payment and postal automation, forms processing, and fraud detection.

“Medical imaging is a natural extension of our technology into areas that face significant challenges and require further technology advancements,” Prizeman said. “We believe the medical imaging breast cancer detection market is facing the challenge of high false-positive rates, and we’re confident our proprietary image analysis technology can address these issues. We also believe providers of mammography systems and CAD software can benefit from our enabling technology, and we are offering algorithms that may further improve performance of their systems.”

Parascript anticipates that current false positive rates can be reduced by 60% to 80% using AccuDetect algorithms. “Parascript applies, optimizes, and updates the latest advancements in voting technology to maximize accuracy and reduce errors,” Prizeman said. “All Parascript products use multiple proprietary engines and algorithms based on orthogonal approaches. Parascript has a long history of experience in building learning classifiers, such as neural networks, and sophisticated statistical voting algorithms to evaluate different decision-making alternatives of its own algorithms or engines and algorithms provided by our partners.”

AccuDetect is intended for OEM customers and is currently available for integration with other CAD systems; availability will depend on when Parascript’s OEM partners release new versions of their CAD products. But since the 2007 annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), Oak Brook, Ill, buzz has been mounting.

“The feedback has been excellent,” Prizeman said. “We had a lot of positive responses at RSNA. Parascript is currently talking to major industry vendors that are interested in enhancing the performance of their CAD and mammography systems with our proprietary technology.”

As to whether the market will be seeing Parascript algorithms for CAD for other modalities, however, the jury’s still out. “We currently don’t have any plans to expand our offerings to including other modalities,” Prizeman said. “But we’re closely monitoring the medical imaging market to identify future opportunities.”

—C. Vasko

MD Buyline Ranks IDC Number One in DR

The January 2008 Intelligence Report released by MD Buyline, an independent health care market research firm, ranks 11 vendors of digital radiography (DR) technology based on satisfaction composite ratings, customer interviews, and product analyst reviews. For the third consecutive year, MD Buyline rated Imaging Dynamics Company Ltd (IDC), Calgary, Alberta, number one in user satisfaction for DR.

Members of MD Buyline’s network rated IDC number one in installation and implementation, and gave IDC the highest composite rating of the survey—9.0 on a scale of 10. Composite rankings are comprised of user satisfaction ratings for system reliability, installation and implementation, applications training, service response time, and service repair quality.

“Responsiveness to our customers is an integral part of the value that IDC delivers,” said Bruce Ashby, general manager of IDC. “We are proud of our record in ensuring customer satisfaction and honored that health care professionals across the US consistently recognize our commitment to customer care.”

Trinity Mercy Hospital, Grayling, Mich, installed its first DR room a little over a year ago. Grover Raymond, director of radiology at Trinity, said pricing was an important factor in the small hospital’s choice of DR vendors.

“The IDC technology is priced very competitively,” he said. “We’re a small community hospital. To get into the DR room for around $300,000, as opposed to $400,000 or $450,000 for other vendors, was great for an institution of this size.”

But that wasn’t the only factor involved in Trinity Mercy’s decision-making process. “The ease of use of the room was a big factor,” Raymond said. “The amount of time that it takes to do the images is very short—the image comes up in less than 4 seconds, a very short time. And the dependability of the detector was important.”

Additionally, Raymond notes, the room is versatile. “It’s set up as a conventional x-ray room, with a table detector and a wall detector, and those detectors can be moved in all different directions and angles,” he said. “That provides more ease of positioning when working with a patient.”

Versatility is also important because the DR room is shared between the emergency department and radiology. “We got it for our emergency department, but it’s adjacent to radiology, so they take a lot of outpatients in there,” Raymond said. “We’re using it almost all the time.”

And in terms of user satisfaction—the somewhat nebulous concept ranked by MD Buyline’s composite ratings—Raymond and his team couldn’t be happier, he says. “The whole process went well, from the decision to purchase it to the installation,” Raymond recalled. “The applications work well, and the service is great—we’ve had less than 1% downtime, and if we need maintenance there’s someone on-site within 4 hours of a phone call.” And that’s just for hardware. “For software, any parameter changes are done remotely,” Raymond noted. “IDC’s very good at that.”

—C. Vasko