Technology and Industry: RSNA 2006 preview

By Kathleen M. Dallessio
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The Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) will hold its Annual Meeting from November 26 through December 1, 2006 at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL. The theme of this year's meeting is "Strengthening Professionalism." "This year's theme serves as a compelling reminder of our obligations to improve the standard of care in today's complex medical environment," said Robert R. Hattery, MD, Clinical Professor of Diagnostic Radiology at the University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ and RSNA 2006 President. "Opportunities for-and challenges to-professionalism are many. By honoring our commitment to professionalism, we dedicate ourselves to improving care for our patients."

"As the landscape of medicine changes, the goal of the RSNA Scientific Assembly remains essentially the same," he continued, "to promote the highest quality of radiologic practice through science and education." To this end, more than 1600 scientific papers and 638 poster presentations will be included in this year's scientific program, as well as more than 1400 education exhibits.

"The scientific program will be spectacular this year due to the high quality of submitted abstracts and the continued development and evolution of our specialty," said Gerald D. Dodd III, MD, chair of the RSNA Scientific Program Committee, and Professor and Chair of the Department of Radiology at The University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, TX.

Attendees will find several enhancements to the scientific program this year. In the redesigned Lakeside Learning Center (formerly referred to as Hall D), education exhibits and scientific posters will be grouped according to subspecialty with signs that mark the location of each subspecialty. In addition, attendees will be able to view the scientific posters and electronic education exhibits on computers located at the outer end of each subspecialty grouping and in the lounge areas known as "communities." There will also be a new Molecular Imaging Zone in the Lakeside Learning Center that will include all the molecular imaging exhibits and posters.

In the North and South Exhibit Halls, more than 700 companies will showcase a broad array of products and services for medical imaging. The following is just brief preview of some of the interesting new technologies that will be featured at RSNA 2006.

Agfa HealthCare to showcase range of products

Agfa HealthCare (Booth 3339) will feature recently approved products and works-in-progress from their digital mammography, computed radiology (CR), information technology (IT), and other product lines.

In the area of digital mammography, Agfa will highlight the company's Direct Mammography (DM) Solution, which features the MAMMOMAT NovationDR direct mammography full-field digital mammography (FFDM) system (distributed through an agreement with Siemens Medical Solutions [Booth 4129]), the vendor-neutral, multimodality IMPAX MA3000 diagnostic display station, and the DRYSTAR hardcopy printers.

From its IT line, Agfa will showcase the latest versions of IMPAX PACS, featuring several enhancements for use in breast imaging, including computer-aided detection (CAD) integration, workflow enhancements, and new IHE (Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise) profiles, and IMPAX RIS (radiology information system), featuring protocolling and the company's proprietary Web-based enterprise-wide scheduling and resource management solution, iPlan.

In addition, Agfa will demonstrate the new IMPAX Data Center, designed for large-scale multisite storage of all types of medical images as well as its ORBIS clinical information system. Works-in-progress in the IT arena will be previewed, including solutions for virtual colonoscopy; registration and fusion of multimodality images including computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and nuclear medicine; vessel analysis; digital subtraction for angiography; and CAD.

From its CR line, Agfa will introduce a new tabletop CR system, the CR 30-X (Figure 1). Designed for lower-volume usage, such as in an intensive care unit, emergency department, or orthopedic practice, the CR 30-X is a single-slot digitizer with a spatial resolution of 10 pixels/mm.

From the field of digital radiography (DR), the company will introduce its new DX-S i , an integrated digital radiography solution designed to bridge the gap between CR and DR. This new system, which at the time of publication was still under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, combines the company's DirectriX and Scanhead technologies to reportedly provide improved image quality and dose reduction as well as high throughput and flexibility with a compact design for in-room integration.

Finally, Agfa will also introduce the latest version of its digital X-ray image- processing software, MUSICA (Multi-Scale Image Contrast Amplification). The new version was designed to provide enhanced workflow through automated image analysis and application of appropriate image enhancement parameters. The company expects the software to be available in the first quarter of 2007.

Hologic to feature women's imaging and skeletal health

Hologic Inc. (Booth 7730) plans to highlight the benefits of its recent acquisitions of R2 Technology and Suros Surgical Systems, using the theme "Better Together" in its 13,000 square feet of exhibit space.

The Hologic pavilion at RSNA 2006 will feature the Selenia digital mammography platform and the multimodality, vendor-neutral SecurViewDX diagnostic workstation (Figure 2). This workstation allows the user to view and manipulate digital mammograms from any vendor, locate regions of interest with CAD tools, and view current and prior mammograms alongside breast images from MRI, positron-emission tomography (PET), and ultrasound studies, all with customizable hanging protocols. The company plans to have 15 SecurView workstations available in the booth to allow visitors to experience the system firsthand.

The company will also demonstrate how R2's products are being integrated into Hologic's line of clinical solutions. One such product is DigitalNow, which is designed to help healthcare facilities build a library of digitized prior mammograms to eliminate the need for light boxes next to high-resolution monitors and to ease the transition to soft-copy review when migrating to digital mammography.

Hologic will also highlight its stereotactic breast biopsy systems. Since the acquisition of Suros, the Suros ATEC (Automated Tissue Excision and Collection) systems have been optimized for use with the MultiCare Platinum prone and StereoLoc II upright biopsy systems. The ATEC line of vacuum-assisted biopsy devices includes the ATEC Emerald, an MRI-compatible system that allows the clinician to perform a 30-minute MRI-guided breast biopsy with a single gadolinium injection, and the ATEC Sapphire breast biopsy system, which is designed to allow users to perform a biopsy using any of the 3 diagnostic imaging modalities-stereotactic X-ray, ultrasound, and MRI- on a single biopsy unit.

Hologic will also focus on skeletal health at this year's RSNA. The company will display its Discovery bone densitometer. One new feature is the Hip Structure Analysis software that can be used to examine the structural geometry of 2-dimensional bone density scan images. The system also uses abdominal aortic calcifications as seen in Discovery Instant Vertebral Assessment scans as an independent and strong predictor of coronary heart disease, stroke, and other forms of cardiovascular disease. The company will also introduce its new Opera extremity MRI for orthopedics. This open system was designed to image all extremities, including the hip and shoulder. The company will also demonstrate its Fluoroscan InSight mini C-arm, designed to deliver high-resolution, low-dose images with a user-friendly interface.

In addition to the currently available products, Hologic will present several works-in-progress. These will include breast tomosynthesis with a selenium-based detector and Citra software, which is designed to streamline mammography reading on the SecurView workstation by equalizing the size of all displayed images, even when the images come from different size detectors or film.

"Hologic is continuing to lead the way in developing and bringing to women's imaging and skeletal health products that help patients enjoy longer and healthier lives," said Jack Cumming, Hologic Chairman and CEO. "We believe our ability to utilize technology to understand disease earlier, improve clinical workflow, and decrease costs will have a significant impact on the future of healthcare."

Hologic is a co-sponsor of the Digital Mammography Training and Self-Assessment Workshop at RSNA 2006. This workshop will provide participants with hands-on experience in reading and manipulating screening digital mammography cases on high-end flat-panel workstations. For further information or to register, visit the RSNA web site at www.rsna.org.

DR Systems to introduce new RIS/PACS platform

DR Systems (Booth 1919) plans to showcase the new Unity RIS/PACS platform at this year's meeting (Figure 3). According to the company, Unity covers "the entire medical imaging exam workflow process with features that go beyond traditional RIS/PACS capabilities."

The system includes new data conversion tools for legacy RIS/PACS replacement and enhanced Web-based scheduling capabilities. The RIS workflow management component includes patient preauthorization, patient flow tracking, film tracking, and task management. The system also features enhanced integrated mammography reading, tracking, film digitizing and archiving capabilities, and improved transcription and automated examination-specific reporting. It provides multidatabase, multiserver capabilities and enhanced PACS access from electronic medical records and hospital information system Web portals.

"The Unity RIS/PACS is our most advanced comprehensive radiology solution yet," said Rick Porritt, DR Systems' President and CEO. "Where other systems 'bolt on' most of their RIS/PACS capabilities, our systems are fully integrated, which leads to far greater reliability. From a work standpoint, that also means much better efficiency and productivity, which is a big reason why institutions implement RIS/PACS in the first place."

Eizo to feature new 5-MP LCD monitors

Eizo Nanao Technologies Inc. (Booth 6747) will display its new 5-megapixel (MP) monochrome LCD monitors with a choice of glare (RadiForce GS510-G) and anti-glare (RadiForce GS510) panels.

According to the company, the new glare panel technology was developed to enhance mammography rendering for reading in a dark environment. The company notes that most current monitors use antiglare panels designed to diffuse the reflection of surrounding light. This waffling of the surface, however, can also diffuse the monitor's backlight and affect the outline of the image. With the glare panel, this effect is eliminated.

Both displays feature the company's Digital Uniformity Equalizer (DUE), designed to compensate for nonuniform luminance. The luminance level of each monitor is measured at the time of production and, once in use, the DUE adjusts the luminance according to the measured data.

The RadiForce GS510 and GS510-G are compatible with the company's quality control products and its remote-calibration "Clip-On Swing Sensor," and various arm- and wall-mount options are available. Both monitors are expected to be available worldwide this fall.

Thinking Systems to unveil Web-based RIS/PACS

Thinking Systems Corporation (Booth 2787) will debut the latest release of its Web-based ThinkingRIS unified with its ThinkingPACS powered by a single database. The system can be integrated with the Philips/Stentor iSite PACS to provide nuclear medicine, PET/CT, echocardiography, and catheter laboratory solutions to iSite users. New features include ModalityBroker (to integrate specialty modalities with third-party enterprise PACS), new hanging protocols, key images, and cardiac PET and PET brain quantification analysis.

Dynamic Imaging to showcase PACS integration

At RSNA 2006, Dynamic Imaging (Booth 4768) will feature its most recent IntegradWeb PACS integration: digital mammography (Figure 4). The system's new capabilities include digital-mammography-specific workflows, including customizable reading layouts and sequences for any third-party FFDM system, and support for CAD.

The company will also present other IntegradWeb PACS integrations, including Barco's Voxar 3D VesselMetrix. This new option offers an advanced visualization solution for stenosis measurement, stent and stent-graft planning, and stent-graft surveillance of the aorta, carotid, and renal arteries, and includes quantitative vessel analysis capabilities. The system will also be shown with enhanced PET/CT functionality, including the display of multiple, simultaneous, 3-dimensional PET/CT views.

In the area of orthopedic imaging, the company will introduce IntegradWeb Ortho, which is designed for surgical planning and orthopedic templating. This system offers Web-based integration with Orthocrat TraumaCad and does not require specialty software to be loaded on the local client station prior to viewing. For orthopedic MR applications, an optional cross-sectional visualization package is also available.

The company expects IntegradWeb RIS/PACS to be commercially available in the first quarter of 2007.

TeraRecon to introduce new platform architecture

TeraRecon, Inc. (Booth 2509) plans to introduce the iNtuition platform architecture for the Aquarius suite of products at RSNA 2006. Designed to deliver integration of advanced imaging workflow into the healthcare enterprise, iNtuition features the VolumePro 2000 central rendering resource based on the company's Falcon chipset.

The company will demonstrate the iNtuition workflow of "Automate, Validate, and Read." The first step involves automatic preprocessing of newly acquired examinations using the AquariusAPS offline processing server. This system allows for the automation of common tasks, with results automatically delivered to the AquariusNET Server and/or Aquarius Workstation. The validation step refers to the ability to perform quality control and additional editing, if required, using the Aquarius Workstation or AquariusNET thin client. The validated result is then delivered to the diagnostic workstation, where a physician can directly open the preprocessed study and move immediately to the diagnostic for the final step- reading.

TeraRecon also plans to showcase the company's enterprise class 3-dimensional server, the Aquarius VLE, which also uses the VolumePro 2000 rendering boards to handle up to 27,200 images concurrently with real-time performance. Each Aquarius VLE server consists of quadruple 4-giga-byte VolumePro 2000/Falcon rendering boards. According to the company, the Falcon processor technology represents a "significant technical advance for volume visualization applications where analyzing extremely large 3D/4D volume data in real time is an essential requirement, and VolumePro 2000 boards are expected to deliver several times the performance and scalability of VolumePro 1000, while featuring additional enhancements to image quality."

Visit Applied Radiologyand WebMedEd and enter to win an iPOD Shuffle

Throughout the RSNA meeting, Applied Radiology and WebMedEd (Booth 1500) will hold daily raffles for an iPOD Shuffle. Be sure to stop by and fill out an entry blank for a chance to win.

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Technology and Industry: RSNA 2006 preview.  Appl Radiol. 

November 15, 2006
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