The 2004 Annual Healthcare Information Management Systems
Society Conference & Exhibition (HIMSS 2004) was held at the
Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL, February 23-26,
2004. One of the largest healthcare information technology (IT)
conferences, it attracted approximately 20,000 healthcare
professionals and included 715 technical exhibitors, many focused
on providing solutions designed to deliver combined management and
storage of images and patient information.
InSiteOne debuts on-site DICOM storage solution
For large medical facilities, InSiteOne (Wallingford, CT)
introduced a new Storage Area Network (SAN) solution, which manages
digital image data and enterprise-wide information storage. Built
on the HP StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA), the SAN
option is an enhancement to the company's InDex Nearline
Designed for facilities with data-intensive needs, this SAN
provides rapid-access, on-site storage to complement InSite's
offsite DICOM archives for long-term storage. With the new system,
images are stored on-site as they are acquired, currently on RAID
proxy servers, with the new HP StorageWorks SAN providing another
option. A copy of the image is automatically sent to InSiteOne's
mirrored data centers in Arizona and Connecticut for permanent
storage and disaster recovery.
Jim Champagne, Senior Vice President at InSiteOne, noted that,
in addition to accommodating ultra-large radiology or cardiology
image files, HP StorageWorks provides ample storage for data from a
range of additional healthcare IT applications. "The complex
demands of DICOM and the data sizes of diagnostic images typically
drive the choice of a storage solution for institutions," he said.
"Now this solution offers DICOM storage with the flexibility and
capacity to store data for the enterprise."
GE Healthcare highlights radiology/cardiology system
GE Healthcare (Waukesha, WI) showcased its new Centricity
Enterprise Image & Information System (EiiS) family of products
at HIMSS 2004. This system combines radiology and cardiology image
storage and allows users to access patients' images, reports, and
waveforms from a common, secure system, which is viewable from any
secure personal computer.
"We're seeing high demand for a combined radiology/cardiology
approach, as it integrates what had been disparate islands of
information into a common system," explained Vishal Wanchoo, Vice
President of Imaging & Information Systems for GE Healthcare.
"Now there is only one image and information system for the IT
department to install, support, maintain, and update. Although it
is one system, it has the sophistication to address the unique
needs of these different clinical users with dedicated radiology
and cardiology workstations."
The customizable radiology workstation was designed to handle
large data sets and features a dedicated radiology toolset that
includes three-dimen-sional, maximum-intensity projection and
multiplanar reconstruction capabilities. The system can be accessed
through portal and EMR applications and can be connected directly
to the EMR system via a standard URL.
IDX showcases Imagecast
IDX Systems Corp. (Burlington, VT) featured its Imagecast Image
Management fully integrated, single-database RIS/PACS solution at
the meeting. Imagecast PACS was designed as an enterprise-wide
image management system and uses the company's Web-based Enterprise
Access. This image management system distributes images to
referring providers throughout the enterprise over existing network
Because the Imagecast PACS does not have its own database, all
RIS and clinical information displayed in the PACS is taken
directly from Imagecast version 10/Imaging Suite database, upon
which the system is built. This seamless integration allows the RIS
information to be accessible from all aspects of the PACS system,
including the reading workstations and Enterprise Access.
With an installed base of more than 730 sites, the system
features a Web-based architecture, proactive support, just-in-time
viewing technology, and security features. It employs a single,
integrated, fully documented standards-based relational database
with dozens of workflow-driven trigger points for automated custom
report printing, faxing, and e-mailing. The system is also scalable
in two ways: scale-out and scale-up. The scale-out approach allows
the system to scale multiple users by establishing a load-balanced
server farm where application servers can be added as demand
requires. It also supports the classic scale-up model, placing all
services on a single clustered or stand-alone SMP-based server.
The system's Interface Workflow Manager handles HL7, DICOM,
XML-Web-Services, and MSMQ, MQ-Series messages and is able to use
any combination of data from the RIS database to route images.
Real-time image distribution across in-house networks and the
Internet is accomplished using the just-in-time iSyntax technology
running in a standard Web-browser client, allowing for instant
image display across the enterprise. For security, the product line
supports 128-bit SSL encryption, desktop security standards for
single sign-on implementations, and Internet encryption for
VitalWorks and Amicas highlight combined technology
VitalWorks Inc. (Ridgefield, CT) featured the RadConnect RIS and
the Vision Series PACS from Amicas, now a wholly owned
Built on a Web- and Java-based platform, RadConnect RIS is the
core component of the company's integrated RIS, PACS, and radiology
billing system. It features a browser-based graphical user
interface, the ability to integrate with Internet-based products,
and platform-independent operation.
According to the company, RadConnect RIS is a "no-client"
application that can run on a standard Web browser and requires no
client installation. System management and updating can be
performed at a single server.
The system also features patient flow monitoring, recommended
diagnosis codes, online physician report approval and electronic
signatures, report auto faxing and e-mailing to referring
physicians, a bar-coding option for film tracking, transcription
and physician review, an electronic interface to a mammography
tracking system, and voice file storage with patient data.
The company also highlighted the unified solution of the
RadConnect RIS and the AMICAS Vision Series PACS. This Web-based
system provides a unified, distributed workflow that eliminates
double entry and the need to work with separate systems to obtain
needed information and images. The RealTime Worklist technology
integrates and automatically updates data on all system
Kodak showcases PACS, secure e-mail, and more
Eastman Kodak Co. (Rochester, NY) highlighted its latest
information management enhancements for their DirectView PACS
System 5 at HIMSS 2004.
The company's new DirectView Versatile Intelligent Patient
Archive (VIParchive) was designed to provide enterprise-wide
management of DICOM and non-DICOM images and information across
multiple storage devices and locations. In addition to addressing
PACS and cardiology information needs, the software system can
manage the information storage needs of a variety of back-office
systems, including purchasing, inventory, and other records
According to Kodak, this scalable, vendor-, media-, and
technology-neutral system can be integrated throughout a healthcare
system's existing IT infrastructure to provide dynamic and
transparent lifecycle management of information. In fact, the
company claims, "this platform is so scalable that it can manage
almost any amount of information and a virtually unlimited number
of storage devices from multiple vendors."
VIParchive is currently available in Europe and is expected to
be available in the United States in the second quarter of 2004. At
the same time, the company also expects to launch a new
content-addressed storage (CAS) system in conjunction with EMC
Corp. (Hopkington, MA).
The Centera CAS system was designed to provide rapid, online
access to fixed content at a cost comparable to tape library or
optical jukebox storage systems. When used together with the
VIParchive software, this new system allows information to be
readily accessible during the time period when it is most
frequently reviewed. The VIParchive software reads the DICOM file
headers and applies site-specific storage plans to move or copy
information to online, near-line, or offline storage systems, as
well as to delete data after the necessary retention period has
"Combining Kodak's VIParchive platform with EMC's Centera
storage system enables IT staff to trim administrative costs
associated with storage management without sacrificing system
performance," said L. Jeffrey Markin, General Manager of healthcare
information systems and Vice President of Kodak's Health Imaging
Kodak also unveiled a new registered e-mail feature for KODAK
Secure E-Mail Service that addresses privacy concerns when sending
e-mail messages containing patient information via the Internet.
The new feature notifies the sender of the time and date that the
recipient opened the e-mail.
"Radiologists need assurance that referring physicians have
received a diagnosis or other information about their patients, and
referring physicians need confirmation that their patients have
reviewed e-mails that contain treatment information or other
important instructions," said James M. Keese, Kodak's Health
Imaging Group's Chief Privacy Officer.
The system encrypts the messages in <0.1 seconds and is
compatible with any SMTP mail system. It also allows security
administrators to implement virus scanning, content filtering, and
"Our Secure E-Mail Service enables healthcare providers to
communicate with payers, patients, and physicians while meeting
HIPAA privacy and security rules for protecting
patient-identifiable data," noted Patrick Faure, Privacy and
Security Program Manager at Kodak. "This service can be managed at
the customer site or through a secure remote interface." Faure
reports that future service enhancements are expected to include
doctor-to-patient communication, drug prescription delivery, and
digital signature capabilities.
Finally, a new tool kit was introduced that will allow Kodak
engineers to rapidly integrate the PACS System 5 platform with
selected vendors' radiology information systems (RIS), electronic
healthcare record (EHR), electronic medical record (EMR), dictation
systems, and other information management systems. Once this
integration is complete, users can access and view information from
RIS or EHR/EMR systems from PACS System 5 workstations, without the
need for multiple computers and separate sign-in procedures for