Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Belated RSNA PACS Post III: Agfa

When I was in school, and then in residency, I used to define the best professors those who could tell me I was full of it and make me like it.

I don't think I would make a very good professor, but Agfa is a true class-act on this score. I've whined rather mercilessly about some of their approaches with which I don't agree, and I've mentioned some problems with certain installations in the Eastern/Southern Hemisphere periodically. Still, the people at Agfa have been incredibly friendly and amicable toward me, trying hard to at least listen to my rants and do what they can do within whatever restraints they operate under. 

I spent but a few moments at the Agfa booth, devoting much of the time to the latest version of Agility, or IMPAX 7 as I like to call it. I'm under NDA not to talk about it, but I CAN tell you that it will be much more powerful and intuitive than good ol' IMPAX 6. 

In the meantime, IMPAX 6.5.3, the latest release, will have improved background caching, and boasts various clinical app suites for advanced imaging, from basic MPR and 3D to PET/CT fusion.

The Agfa booth hosted a little company called Real Time Medical, which offered a workflow engine that would unite disparate PACS, RIS, speech recognition, etc., under one wrapper. From their website:

Real Time Medical develops vendor-neutral context-aware workflow management software solutions for diagnostic imaging organizations (DIOs).

In introducing diagnostic imaging to context-awareness in workflow management, we offer breakthrough methodologies to automate and optimize the way workloads and workflows are managed in DIOs, with an eye to drive more value out of their existing PACS/RIS investments and confidently prepare themselves for a rapidly changing future.

Our software products, under the umbrella platform DiaShare™, concentrate on the areas of workflow management and enterprise productivity (WORKFLOW) and quality assurance (QUALITY). Both are seamlessly vendor-neutral because of our elegant connectivity, integration and interoperability engine (OPEN)....

DiaShare™ WORKFLOW removes concerns regarding physical locations, traditional IT infrastructure and existing RIS/PACS infrastructure, and answers the question: how can your system’s workload be optimally managed according to contextual parameters you set, and can easily change as environmental conditions change.

The DiaShare platform does require the use of their particular worklist, but it's a good start. I'd like to see all this done in the background, i.e., I want to see the worklists of all my connected PACS show up within IMPAX, or Merge, or whatever, in a manner transparent to where I'm sitting. We're almost there, I think.

Apparently our funding for upgrading to the next version of Agfa is limited, so I may have to rely on outside reports to let you know how well it works. Agility has been deployed in beta in a few sites around the world, and I think one here in the States. I offered our services, but then thought better of it, given how stubborn our guys can be sometimes...


Anonymous said...

I CAN tell you that it will be much more powerful and intuitive than good ol' IMPAX 6

Intuitive maybe, but powerful? Only if you do less than 100,000 exams a year... Eight years of development and it can't keep up to the smallest IMPAX site.

Anonymous said...

Will Agfa ever fix the s-l-o-w-n-e-s-s of their integrated IMPAX PACS/RIS before their customers desert them?

Anonymous said...

Expect a lot, Agility will be THE single integrated solution that offers the workflows you need with the maximum performance that your network allows.

Don't gossip here if you haven't seen it in action.

Anonymous said...

The last comment appears to be straight from Agfa's marketing office! If Agility is so good, maybe Agfa need to start showing some evidence of to their existing customers (not just those who could make it to RSNA). Brochures? Online demos?

Real Time Medical said...

Dr. Dalai:

Some great news, we're already there! DiaShare is PACS/RIS neutral. It unites all your disparate connected PACS worklists into a single interface (for example, this can be Agfa's IMPAX). DiaShare runs in the background, driving the single worklist, actively managing workflow and balancing workloads.

DiaShare has already been used for several years in a Canadian teleradiology network that spans 37 sites, 15 PACS/RIS instances, and 4 time zones.