Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New Years' Notes

The most wonderful part of being the Dalai Lama of PACS is, of course, the amazing people I have met.  PACS is a business for the best and brightest, and somehow they tolerate me, too. 

I received this note the other day, and I pass it on with all due humility:


I am enjoying a rare couple of days of business-free family time, visiting my sister and my mother. One of my sons is also visiting.

In just a couple of days, I have probably gone through my online routine several times. First, check the Dalai’s blog. Then, check the AuntMinnie forums. And so on.

It occurred to me that I should write and thank you for your contributions, blog-wise. Over the years, you have delighted me, confounded me, vexed me, irritated me, gotten me so mad that I have cursed you. You serve up a pretty wide range of tastes, none of them bland.

I am politically pretty far to the left, and I have these same reactions when I read the editorial pages of The Wall Street Journal. And guess what? I buy the Journal every time I have the time to read it, mostly when I fly.

So, to one of my favorite bloggers: Thank you, Dr. Dalai, for your contributions, and for the continuing delight (and other reactions) that you give me.

My best regards to you and Mrs. Dalai, and may 2011 shower abundant blessings on the Dalai clan.

All the best...
As I have said countless times, I never cease to be amazed that anyone even reads the drivel I post.  I'm left speechless.  If I've brightened the day of at least one reader, or at least made him or her think about something, then it's all worthwhile. 

Not to be lost in the melancholy of the moment, allow me to return to my more ascerbic self.

Email also brought me this unsolicited advertisement for a little PACS company that I won't name:

Hello Dr. Dalai,

Sorry you missed us at RSNA. If you really want something new and different please read. We can out perform Life Image in every way. We are looking for luminary accounts let me know if you have an interest.

It has been brought to my attention that a new and different way to see images from anywhere on any computer is needed. Even though most PACS vendors provide a physician portal the truth is most physicians will not use it for a variety of reasons. Hospitals also have a problem dealing with CD’s. It is time consuming to make them and they sometimes cannot be read even if a viewer is available. If this sounds familiar please review the alternative solution from XX. I would like to discuss how we can help resolve these problems so please respond to this email and let’s talk.

Do You Need An Alternative to Sending out CD/DVDs

Do You Need a Simple Easy Way For Your Referring Doctors To See Their Images And Reports

Do You Need A PACS But Don’t Have The Capital Funds or Personnel To Support It.

Now There Is A Way You Only Pay A One Time Use Fee Per Study.

No On Site Hardware or Software Needed, Just An Internet Connection.

Please Read Below:

PACS, RIS and Image Sharing Across Communities

The XX supports the same image interpretation and reporting as a state-of-the-art web-based PACS. In addition, it enables image communications over the Internet for on-the-fly referring physician reporting, remote consultations, trauma transfers and more—without any dedicated software or hardware requirements for remote users. As a result, it is a highly effective image communication hub for Regional Health Information Organizations (RHIOs) or entire unaffiliated medical communities, providing an important step towards universal access to healthcare information. With appropriate permissions, multiple users in disparate locations simultaneously may schedule a patient visit, check exam status, access any study, interpret an image and obtain a report.

Lightning Fast 3D/4D Remote Processing

At the same time, XX’s lightning fast 3D/4D processing overcomes the challenge of formatting and delivering interactive high volume 3D/4D reconstructed images over the Internet on-demand. XX, for example, displays the latest 4D 320-slice CT scan output comprising 6700 images (3.35GB data) in seconds, by contrast to hours using conventional PACS and 3D processing solutions. Sites with an existing PACS can seamlessly integrate this functionality into their systems, and any site can take advantage of new revenue channels for advanced visualization without incurring a capital expense.

Taking Advantage of Computer Game Technology

At the heart of XX’s unique capabilities are Graphics Processing Units (GPUs), the same technology that powers today’s advanced video gaming cards. These GPUs are made up of hundreds of small processors that handle information simultaneously, in contrast to the single central processing unit (CPU) of a typical PACS server.

“XX’s artificial intelligence algorithms running on GPU technology make XX servers thinking machines. They are capable of producing XX™ and adapted to handle the ever-increasing volumes of medical data—100 times more powerful than current PACS servers,” notes XX, president and founder of XX.

One-time Fee-Per Study

With XX, any site, whatever its size and budget, can enjoy the most advanced digital imaging workflow without system set up costs and only a reasonable one-time per-study fee. “Hardware and software capital expenses, IT staffing and physical workspace no longer are barriers to the most advanced digital imaging applications and integrated PACS/RIS workflow,” explained XX.

He notes that getting started is easy, whether XX is implemented as a first-time conversion to a digital imaging environment, a cost-effective replacement for an existing PACS, or an added advanced visualization processing engine.

The XX supports authenticated access, encrypted communication, data and access redundancy and unlimited storage for the highest level of data safety and security. XX cloud-based advanced clinical viewing software has been cleared as a diagnostic device by the FDA,
Sounds intriguing to a degree, although the talk of being "100 times more powerful than current PACS servers" seems a little over the top.  How do you measure the power of a PACS server?  Processor speed?  RAM?  Probably the most important factor is the communications network, which has little to do with the PACS server itself. 
Unfortunately, XX went on to post similar information as a comment on my recent lifeIMAGE article.  That's a no-no.

There are a lot of PACS systems out there.  Many die off from lack of funding, some scrape by in competition with the big players, sometimes buoyed by customers who can (or will) only pay for a bargain-basement product.  Doubtless there are some good ideas out there, and XX's line suggests that he might actually have some innovations buried in the hype.  But caveat vendor:  too much hype spoils your message, at least if you are approaching someone like me who actually has some inkling of what you are talking about.  I've found that the more smoke and mirrors involved in a showing or marketing a product, the more likely it is that said product isn't all that.

Words to the wise.  And by the way, don't spam.


Anonymous said...

What is a "one time use fee per study"?

Anonymous said...

A onetime use fee is a one time fee to upload a study but it can be viewed by anyone anytime at no extra charge.

PACSman said...

He doesn't give up- even responding here with the answer...I'm surprised there is no telephone # as well but Dalai probably edited it out...

You can learn more about this and more if you were a PACS Relic Ibued (with) Considerable Knowledge like the Dalai and I are, even learning how they are 100x faster, but alas we have enough of our type people in the PACS world already...so you'll just have to trust us when we say it's real or not...


Anonymous said...

My favorite quote was: "It has been brought to my attention that a new and different way to see images from anywhere on any computer is needed."

"It has been brought to my attention"? C'mon. But having said that, someone brought to my attention recently that there are a lot of hucksters out there.


A Doc 2 Be said...

A little late, and absolutely NOT PACS related:

Shalom and thank you :)

Ad2b (even if at Ross, AUC, ...)

Anonymous said...

I read your blog because I like the perspective it gives me from a Radiologists side.

I work on the IT side of a PAC's system. Although I deal with Radiologists on a regular basis, I feel like some of the feedback is watered down (censored to some extent) or (on the other side) unrealistic.

I usually find your blog posts sit somewhere in between... not unreasonable and very insightful!

It's nice to read a more technical savy Rad blog about their woes and (most of the time) try to keep their expectations grounded.

Again, the feedback is always invaluable!