Sunday, August 16, 2009

Shootout at the 3D Corral! And the Winner Is. . .

The Visage Team

The TeraRecon Team

My inspiration: Shootout at the OK Corral

You might recall from my post about advanced imaging systems at SIIM that we intended to pit Visage against TeraRecon in a side-to-side (or back-to-back, or head-to-head, or toe-to-toe) competition. GE more or less invited themselves to the party, and they were welcomed, but a scheduling snafu seemed to prevent their attendance in the end. Which is probably OK, as a preliminary demo disclosed that they really didn't have some of the functionality we needed to see. The competition finally occurred a few days ago, with a couple of rads, our entire PACS team, and a few other assorted rogues in attendance.

Each vendor had the chance to do their usual presentations, and then we saw live processing. We submitted a few cases, in addition to the usual samples, so as to allow viewing of similar data on both products.

My previous report noted that Visage was a very powerful system, but wasn't quite up to the level of TeraRecon. Still, it's a pretty good package for the price, which is MUCH lower than TR's. TeraRecon is still the 900 pound gorilla, with Visage maybe hitting 750-800 pound gorilla status.

I'm not going to torture you with a click-by-click rendition of the demonstration. However, a couple of points should be related. First, both produce pretty pictures, make nice movies, and both can process most of the same stuff. The similarity ends at the level of automation. With the optional AquariusAPS (Advanced Processing Server), many onerous tasks, such as processing a coronary CTA study, can literally be accomplished with a single click. My friend and colleague, Dr. Killer, who is one of the biggest fans of the GE AW you are likely to meet was absolutely bowled over by TeraRecon's capabilities. He described them as "leaving GE in the dust."

There is of course much more to all this, such as Visage requiring more hardware for every six simultaneous users, something TR says is not necessary for them. TR can make really fancy movies, with variance of position, rotation, windowing, etc., something Visage cannot do anywhere near as well.

I reported last time that Visage could automatically register an old PET/CT to a new study. The demonstrators this time were not aware of this, but I have made it work on web-demos on my own computers. Last time, TeraRecon didn't have this functionality, but today, two months after SIIM, there it was.

Bottom line: TeraRecon does the job better, but it is much more expensive. Visage is an up-and-comer; it will advance and improve, and become a more and more worthy contender as time goes on. To be brutally honest, however, TeraRecon absolutely MUST come in at a lower price-point than initially promised to make this sale. I like Visage, I liked their team, both those I met at SIIM and those who made the trip deeper into the South. This is a good bunch of very capable folks. On the other hand, I've known our TR rep for many years, and he is a character of the first order, but truly a great guy, and very, very knowledgeable about his product and how it would fit in with our enterprise. In the end, I would be very happy to work with either company. However, I have to acknowledge the current superiority of TeraRecon's Aquarius iNtuition. If price were no object, that is the direction I would go. I'm not spending my own money here, but I still want to be cognizant of costs. So, I can only hope that there is some give to TeraRecon's sticker price. If not, I can rest assured that there is a very good alternative.


Anonymous said...

How would you compare these to Vital? New web stuff looks nice, but needs a seperate server for each concurrent user... ouch!

Dalai said...

Vital is not on the table for me. We owned three Vitreas at one point, which were quite advanced for their day. However, one went bad, and 10 calls to service as well as numerous emails went unanswered. We have three Silicon Graphics workstations that are now very expensive doorstops. Years later, Vital cold-called me, and when I outlined the history, the caller apologised and promised to do better if I would take a look at their stuff. He never followed through. Fast forward to this summer: Someone from Vital posted a nasty comment on my health-care post. Vital is now persona non grata in my book. They are permanently off my list of vendors. Permanently.

Anonymous said...

We had Terarecon for 3 - 5 Years now and definitely have change the dynamic of our Imaging Radiology. Members from Terarecon has recently upgraded our older servers to Intuition and it has taking my love for 3D to a new height. From what the PACS Manager has told me, The cost of the upgrade was simply a service cost and since we had initially purchased services, it was all free. These folks are professional.
There's no other vendor out there that would support except Terarecon.
* I was an original GE users who was nickeled and dimed for a little upgrades. Vital Promised me a server solution and in the trial installed a remote access, Query,...BS.

John Smultz said...

Hi Dalai,
The price of TR was proposed by PACS vendor or TR itself? I'm a PACS Manager of ICI and initially priced out an full enterprise solution thru multiple PACS Vendors. Eventually I was advice to go directly to TR for quotes and found this to a big surprise. Terarecon came in at the lowest and we received alot more than we would have bargain for. Hope this helps?

Anonymous said...

shootout at the oy vey corral...

MrNadlan said...

Hi Dalai,

I am working with a company which is building a state-of-the-art advanced imaging solution that requires zero upfront cost from healthcare facilities ( and includes a client that works on any PC. Our origins are in the cardiac CT world, and we are now broadening our horizons.
As your are interested in all things imaging/PACS, I was wondering whether I can interest you in our solution and get your professional opinion on it.

Thanks ahead of time...