· Managing ECG Data in a Multimodality Environment
· Product Debut! Better Client-Server 3D for Cardiac Analysis

Managing ECG Data in a Multimodality Environment

John Muir Health needed to convert an extremely laborious manual process to an automated one that allowed electrocardiograms (ECGs) to be interpreted and viewed, enterprisewide, in a manner that was quick, remote, and available in downstream.

CardioECG 3.2 lets physicians interpret and view ECGs quickly and efficiently.

After performing some market research, the health system—which consists of two acute care medical centers, as well as urgent care, behavioral health, and outpatient centers—selected the CardioECG 3.2 solution from LUMEDX Corp, Oakland, Calif, in conjunction with Epiphany Cardiography Products LLC, Amherst, Va.

The multimodality, multivendor, pure-Web software for cardiac rhythm data management delivers clinical data from more than 60 different devices and more than 30 vendors across 10 different modalities, such as cardiograph, Holter, stress, patient monitoring, PFT, and defibrillator.

“The automation eliminated the expensive manual process, including dictation,” said Nicole Blalock, lead applications support analyst, cardiovascular service line, at John Muir Health. “CardioECG enhances patient care and increases patient safety by allowing physicians to interpret and view ECGs quickly and efficiently. [It also provides] clinicians with quick and easy access to prior studies for comparison in providing rapid diagnosis and treatment.”

Randy Marc Lasnick, director of marketing at LUMEDX, explained that most HER companies offer a suite of administrative applications, but only a few provide solutions for the storage and management of ECG data.

“Before LUMEDX’s CardioECG, cardiology department managers ran into financial roadblocks when it came to recommending and providing their institution with a cost-effective means to electronically access, edit, archive, and back up multimodality ECG data,” Lasnick continued.

Medical companies, and not IT companies, developed the ECG storage solutions on the market, which were expensive and had limited flexibility to accept ECG data from other manufacturers’ products, he explained. Many cardiology managers found that to implement a multimodality ECG management system, they needed to purchase all ECG acquisition devices from that same vendor. Because departments lacked the capital to implement the single-vendor approach, the only alternative, for many, was to continue to use paper.

As a result of the associated high costs, the one-vendor strategy prevented many hospitals from being able to afford their dreams of a multimodality ECG management environment. Furthermore, customers who did standardize on one brand of ECG devices “may have later found themselves locked into high support costs, and in some cases having to sacrifice clinical device preference for electronic connectivity,” Lasnick said.

“LUMEDX’s CardioECG can solve these problems for customers at an extremely cost-effective price point,” Lasnick said. “Our product is a pure Web application that accepts data from the major ECG device manufacturers and offers customers the ultimate level of scalability and flexibility at a significant savings by utilizing existing ECG equipment. Our user interface was developed from the group up with the intention of having cardiologists read online. It’s extremely intuitive and provides quick access to clinical information.”

CardioECG is a part of LUMEDX’s suite of integrated cardiovascular imaging and information management tools. Among its benefits, it eliminates expenses associated with regular, costly hardware and software upgrades and sun-setting of older systems, offers pure Web access, and enables robust multisite communications and support without the high costs related to proprietary systems.

It does not require any proprietary hardware, reducing total cost of ownership and helping hospitals leverage existing and future investments in devices and systems, promoting best-of-breed environments. Also, it has the ability to support up to 250 simultaneous users, and it creates one final record, including management reports.

“CardioECG is a pure Web-enabled system residing on JMH infrastructure,” Blalock said. “Integration was easier than other systems considered due to CardioECG being a pure Web-enabled product.”

—E. Sanchez

Better Client-Server 3D for Cardiac Analysis

TeraRecon, San Mateo, Calif, recently introduced technology that it says offers the highest single-server capacity available on today’s market for the largest number of concurrent users accessing the biggest CT exams.

For cardiac CT, interpretation is key.

The Aquarius iNtuition suite of advanced visualization offerings includes all the cardiac tools, with emphasis on fast interpretation of coronary anatomy, morphology, quantification of stenotic disease, calculation of coronary calcium burden, ventricular function, and left atrium analysis.

“Imaging practices focused on cardiac CT have very particular needs when it comes to interpretation software,” said Robert Taylor, TeraRecon president and COO. “Studies are several times larger than typical radiology examinations, and multiple users require concurrent access to the full diagnostic tool set, but via affordable and flexible licensing models.”

The Aquarius iNtuition Server can be configured to support a fixed number of users, with each individual able to access large cardiovascular studies and the full suite of cardiovascular tools. Furthermore, it is capable of opening studies that are comprised of more than 6,000 slices.

“It is now possible to purchase a server for two cardiac users at a price point competitive with the single workstation usually included in a CT scanner purchase,” Taylor said. “Access for additional users can then be purchased as required, without a need for retraining or a change in deployment strategy.”

In Taylor’s opinion, no cases of a single workstation with a CT or MR scanner are adequate to meet clinical needs in today’s cardiac CT environment. “By combining multiple users with the flexibility of true client-server architecture, we are confident this product will be very popular as an alternative to the advanced visualization offerings normally bundled with imaging modalities,” he continued.

Taylor added that distribution of interactive 3D results to referring physicians helps to demonstrate the value and convenience of CT technology as a complement to existing diagnostic paradigms in cardiology.

Included in the server is AquariusWEB viewer, which is a browser-based volumetric viewer that works on any modern Web browser without the need to install any plug-ins, ActiveX controls, or Java. Clinicians can view images sent by interpreting physicians as a URL link via e-mail or embedded in a report. After clicking the link, physicians are taken to a secure page, where they can interact directly with key 2D, 3D, or vascular analysis views.

—E. Sanchez