Imaging and the Web
This article was originally published in Start Up
In the ten years or so since picture archiving and communications systems (PACS) were introduced, only 15% of hospitals in the US have implemented them in their radiology departments; the vast majority of hospitals handle most images as they have for years--on film and manually. The reasons are many, but cost is a big factor. Hospitals simply don't have money to pay for expensive PACS. A new business model, the application service provider (ASP) offers a solution. ASPs centralize alot of PACS services, serving multiple clients at once, and archiving digital images off-site at a central location. Hospitals pay on a per transaction basis and avoid the upfront costs of installing capital equipment. The web has made this possible because images can be transmitted over the Internet to off-site storage locations.
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Amicas Inc. offers a broad set of solutions for Internet-based image management, with a focus on the radiology department.
PhorMax Corp. hopes to make filmless medical images affordable and widely accessible with CRView, its low-cost computed radiography system. CRView combines an imaging system and Web-based communications infrastructure to incorporate radiology images with other data in an electronic patient record, and facilitate its distribution within an institution or to interested parties on the outside. CRView will be priced at approximately $50,000, less than half the price of existing systems. And it is compatible with existing X-ray systems, which will allow imaging centers to become filmless without having to replace or reconfigure their existing equipment.
InSite One hopes to provide hospitals with an archiving solution that accommodates radiologists' needs for on-line and off-line storage of images and short and long-term access to those images. The company will operate under a fee-for-service model that will relieve hospitals of the expense and obsolescence risk of buying capital equipment.