Agfa emphasizes digital conversion capabilities

2003 12 02 21 22 46 706

CHICAGO - A slew of partnerships and women’s imaging initiatives highlight Agfa HealthCare’s product introductions this year.

In PACS, Agfa’s work-in-progress Impax ES (Enterprise Suite) network has taken center stage. An integrated PACS, RIS, and speech recognition offering, Impax ES can be installed as a stand-alone application or as an integrated package, according to the Greenville, SC-based vendor.

Impax ES includes workflow advances for viewing of large data-set studies, as well as changes to the size of toolbar and improved security, privacy, and auditing, according to Agfa. Other enhancements include extension of enterprise scalability with Windows core components, an updated graphical user interface to support functional changes taking place within the Impax ES clients, and automatic image study updates to its Web1000 distribution package.

It also includes paperless workflow options, according to the vendor. Impax ES will be released in 2004.

Web1000 ES, another work-in-progress, extends Web-based results distribution to cardiology, with MPEG support for viewing and displaying cardiology multi-frame data for cath labs and echocardiograms. The software also includes an EPR integration module, allowing for integration into any electronic patient record software, Agfa said.

Web1000ES also features both “push” and “pull” technology, allowing for large, multi-slice image files to be waiting for a remote radiologist with limited bandwidth connections, the vendor said.

Agfa is also showcasing Impax Total Solution, a PACS version designed to allow community-based hospitals and imaging centers to convert to a filmless environment for under $5 to $6 per procedure, according to the vendor.

The vendor has also debuted initia DDM, an entry-level, modular data management system. DDM allows imaging centers and small hospitals to gather image data and create a single radiology patient file that can be sent or archived, Agfa said.

The system includes four components: initia RIS (patient scheduling), initia Off-line Archive (reporting and archiving), initia DS1 software (diagnosis), and initia Basix (PACS).

In addition, Agfa has broadened the functionality of its workstation software, inking a global distribution agreement with 3-D software developer Voxar. That company’s Voxar 3D software will be integrated into Agfa’s Impax PACS software.

The vendor has also completed a deal with Germany-based Hectec, a developer of orthopedic surgical planning software. An OEM version of Hectec’s mediCAD software will be integrated into Agfa’s work-in-progress OT3000 orthopedic workstation.

The partnership adds a number of new capabilities including hip and knee templates and templating protocols, as well as support for 42 implant manufacturers with more than 12,000 templates, Agfa said.

Agfa expects to roll out the software in the early part of 2004. On the show floor, Agfa is displaying mediCAD’s orthopedic tools integrated with Impax workstation software, allowing orthopedic departments the ability to review multimodality images, as well as current and prior planned images for comparison on one workstation.

Agfa has also inked a reseller agreement with the North American region of Dimension Data, which will provide its technology services via Agfa’s U.S. sales organization. Initial offerings include PACS-related security, network, and storage services; a HIPAA security assessment; and associated hardware requirements, Agfa said.

In other PACS partnerships, Agfa has signed a reseller agreement with Stratus Technologies, gaining access to that firm’s high-availability ftServer products for the U.S. and Canadian markets. Agfa said it has installed its Web1000 application on Stratus’ ftServer servers systems at two locations.

In cardiology PACS developments, Agfa has inked a deal with cardiac image and information management provider Heartlab. The OEM relationship will provide Agfa access to Heartlab’s PACS network, which allows for access and management data from multiple imaging modalities including angiography, cardiac ultrasound, and intravascular ultrasound.

It can also facilitate inclusion of non-image data such as waveforms and clinical reports into the electronic medical record, Agfa said. An integrated, commercially ready offering is expected to be ready in early 2004.

TalkStation 3.0 is a work-in-progress version of Agfa’s TalkStation software. TalkStation 3.0 includes a number of enhancements such as Dragon v7, improved security features, new workflow options, and improved client maintenance capabilities. TalkStation 3.0 is slated for release in the first quarter of 2004.

Agfa also provided a glimpse into its PACS future in a special technology presentation. Making use of Microsoft’s .Net infrastructure, Agfa plans to bring to market a unified client package, which will allows users to employ one viewer to access image and clinical information.

A patient-centric and tightly integrated PACS, RIS, and reporting offering, the system will include different “personas” for different user types, as well as configurable and dynamic worklists, Agfa said. Agfa expects to release the system in 2005.

Printing developments were highlighted by the introduction of DryStar 5300, a tabletop dry imager designed for decentralized hard-copy applications.

Digital x-ray/women’s imaging

In computed radiography news, Agfa has introduced CR 50.0, the latest addition to its family of CR readers. CR 50.0, which can process about 180 plates per hour, reads and refreshes one line at a time and boasts a 5-second preview image at the workstation, according to the vendor.

Agfa does not have Food and Drug Administration clearance for CR 50.0 yet, but expects to receive it in the first quarter of 2004. Although there is no price listed yet for CR 50.0, Agfa’s existing CR 25.0 is priced at $89,000, while its CR 75.0 is listed at $139,000.

Agfa is also continuing its plans to move into full-field digital mammography (FFDM) with its work-in-progress Embrace DM 1000 mammography system, an OEM unit based on Hologic’s Selenia FFDM unit. Agfa will use Hologic’s generator, capture device, and control panel, according to the company. The flat panel is a 24 x 30-inch amorphous selenium detector.

2003 12 02 21 22 46 706
Agfa is highlighting its Embrace women's imaging portfolio, which includes the work-in-progress DM 1000 full-field digital mammography unit.

Agfa has signed on Florida Hospital to conduct a clinical investigation of the system, which is being installed at the facility’s recently expanded Women’s Center. Other members of Agfa’s Embrace women’s imaging line include the work-in-progress Embrace CR mammography system and Embrace Diagnostic Display Station.

In other digital mammography developments, Agfa has signed a memorandum of understanding with computer-aided detection (CAD) developer R2 Technology. R2’s ImageChecker CAD system will be integrated into Agfa’s digital mammography systems, according to the vendors.

By Erik L. Ridley and Robert Bruce staff writers
December 2, 2003

Related Reading

Agfa HealthCare, November 17, 2003

Agfa nets Belgian PACS, DR mammo order, November 18, 2003

Agfa reports Q3 results, November 13, 2003

Agfa adds Premier contracts, October 27, 2003

Agfa completes Reunion Island RIS/PACS install, October 21, 2003

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