2009 has been a year of changes, some good, some bad. On the other hand, some things didn't change at all. Here are just a few items that come to mind from the PACS world, not in any particular order:
- AMICAS buys Emageon, and is in turn bought by venture cap firm Thoma Bravo. AMICAS comes out with a higher stock price than has been seen in years (although the vultures disagree with the valuation for some reason). They also gain access to a vendor-neutral database (joining several other companies), a cardiac package, and a large number of customers they hope to keep happy. Emageon was a pretty good system, as evidenced by the loyalty demonstrated by some of its users. There may be a few more elements that AMICAS could utilize before sending the Emageon GUI into the Ethernet for the last time. AMICAS Version 6, affectionately known as simply AMICAS PACS, is deployed, although it took quite a while to get from prototype to production. We hope to get ours sometime in early to mid 2010.
- GE continues to slog away with the reimagination of Centricity. To my knowledge, and someone please correct me if I'm wrong, Centricity IW, the GUI purchased with the Dynamic Imaging acquisition, has yet to be completely and successfully deployed. We'll cross our fingers for 2010.
- Agfa IMPAX is once again the bane of my existence. I'll give credit to Agfa for fixing some of it's problems, but many remain. I'm expecting an upgrade in early 2010. Frankly, if I were Agfa, I would concentrate all possible resources on IMPAX 7, and get it out the door. Assuming it actually works properly at that point, which is a major leap of faith for me right now.
- Cloud computing/storage becomes the rage, with offerings from LifeImage and even DR Systems, amonst many others. To me, this is truly the future of PACS. I'm going to get around to writing a full article about the cloud concept sometime in 2010. (That's about the only resolution I'm making this year.)
- Enterprise PACS, with universal worklists blanketing multiple sites and multiple systems, appear from several vendors, notably Intelerad, Carestream (with the boldly-named SuperPACS™), and eRad, amongst others.
- Thin-client advanced imaging packages proliferate, with varying degrees of integration to PACS. Visage takes a unique approach, touting the ability of their system to serve as an overlay, if you will, to a legacy PACS.
- Siemens revamps their IT offerings with the new syngo.x platform. Look for syngo.via advanced imaging, and syngo.plaza PACS in the near future.
The major medical story overall is, of course, the nearly-complete passage of the health-care bill by Congress. This abomination will certainly change health-care . . . for the worse. Yes, more people will be insured, at tremendous cost, with the eventual erosion of what once was the best system in the world. Please don't bother citing statistics that "prove" otherwise. Those "facts" are gerrymandered and twisted to make us look far worse than we really are. Infant mortality, for example, is "worse" in the U.S. because we count every single live birth in the denominator. Most other nations don't. Our cancer survival is significantly better than elsewhere. You are twice as likely to live through a myocardial infarction here than in many other countries.
Those celebrating the "historic" passage of the bill may be deluded into thinking they have done some good. Sadly, the real reason behind this legislation is power. The Democrats have just snatched 1/6 of the economy for themselves, and they won't let it go until death do them part. My trite little phrase, "If the government controls your health-care, it controls your LIFE," is quite apropos. Once the government steps in and manages, if not provides, health-care, the majority of the public will become dependent upon the ruling party, and will vote them back in again and again. Feel free to disagree, but you won't convince me otherwise.
Our Attorney General, along with those of several other states, is investigating the legality and constitutionality of the gift given to Nebraska as a bribe to Senator Ben Nelson, and they are also looking into the propriety of forcing everyone in the country to buy insurance. We can only hope that the laws of this nation will be visited upon our out-of-control Democratic Congress with the same level of vengeance they have shown to us. And make no mistake, 2010 will be the year of revenge of the average U.S. citizen upon the power-mad Democrats who would have our nation emulate the socialism of their European idols.
Terrorism has reared its ugly shorts in the form of the Crotch-Bomber. We knew we were in line for more terrorist attacks, and I'm really surprised we haven't seen one until now. The Administration is deeply involved in the finger-pointing as to who didn't do what to prevent this near-tragedy. Sadly, until the Democrats acknowledge the fact that we are at war with the terrorists, we are in danger. It was with some trepidation that I put my kids on planes this week to visit friends. We aren't safe, and I don't trust our government to make much progress in this regard.
Climate-Gate should have altered the global climate warming change debate, but that was not quite the case. Emails, ummmm, liberated (supposedly by a hacker, but possibly by someone on the inside) from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in England show that the data has been manipulated, altered, corrupted, and otherwise trashed to come to the anthropomorphic conclusion desired by these left-leaning "scientists". But the fact that there is now no "fact" in existence concerning mankind's responsibility for global warming (which isn't really even happening) doesn't bother those who are convinced of our guilt. Talking with these folks is a very surreal experience. "The data was faked," I say. "But we're killing the planet and we need to all change our ways!" the accolytes cry. "But there's no proof of mankind's involvement," I reply. "But we're killing the planet and we need to all change our ways!" the accolytes cry. What can you do? The only truth in all of this is that yet again, this issue becomes the excuse for a power-grab, a path to more and more government control and domination. And no, I don't think the government is acting in anyone's best interest.
You'll be amused to know that I intend to buy a hybrid vehicle when the time comes to replace something in my family fleet. I'm anticipating gas going up to European levels ($8/gallon) before too much longer, and once that happens, prices on hybrids will also skyrocket. While I don't approve of gratuitous pollution, I'm not convinced that my SUV and I are personally responsible for the death of the polar bears (which isn't really happening, either).
I haven't even begun to touch the specter of a nuclear Iran, the quagmire in Afghanistan, and many other critical issues.
Much is bleak on this New Year's Eve, but there is much promise as well. We can either look forward to the future and hope for change (not the hope and change delivered by Washington so far, thanks) or we can wallow in despair and anger over what is being done against us by our enemies, not to mention to us, supposedly for our own good. Best, of course, to choose life, hope, and optimism. 2010 will bring good things for the country and the world. We hope.
Maybe 2010 will deliver a working version of Centricity IW, and a more functional IMPAX 6.5. I can dream, can't I?
I'll be back next year, much to the chagrin of some of you, and perhaps the amusement of one or two of you.
And with that, I wish you all a most happy and healthy holiday! Don't drink and drive, by the way. Let me know if you need a cab, and I'll call one for you. Happy New Year, everyone!