Tuesday, October 30, 2012

"Something Big! Something New!"

I have it on good authority that Merge Healthcare will be announcing "Something Big! Something New!" at RSNA. No, I have absolutely no idea what it might be. However, here are some possibilities, borne of my own perverted imagination:

  • Acquisitions?
    • Merge buys Agfa--Certainly Big, but not particularly New
    • GE buys Merge--Let us hope this is not the case
    • Allscripts buys Merge--long predicted by people in the know, but...
  • Products?
    • Meaningful-Use-Ready EHR
    • Mating of AMICAS Merge PACS and Honeycomb for a true Cloud-PACS solution
  • Off-The-Wall
    • Michael Ferro switches from Tesla Roadster to Fiskar Karma and invites me for a ride down Michigan Avenue although I have to man the extension cord.
Stay tuned...


From the latest Merge email:

The next revolution in imaging is coming...RSNA 2012. Booth 4845.Radiology is moving at the speed of life. Technology is evolving. You have clouds, viewers, portals, HIEs and more to address. Regulations like Meaningful Use (MU), HIPAA, ICD-10 and others keep pressing forward. And, the industry itself is changing with consolidation of imaging centers, emergence of ACOs and more.At RSNA 2012, we invite you to take a peek inside the new Merge box. In booth 4845, we'll be previewing the next generation of imaging — an innovative closed-loop imaging solution that will benefit radiologists, physicians and patients.We'll also be showcasing:
  • How Merge can help you meet Meaningful Use (MU) now and prepare for the increased thresholds in MU Stage 2
  • Why an end-to-end radiology solution offers greater ROI than mixing point products
  • How to optimize your combination of onsite and cloud storage for maximum efficiency and benefit
  • And much, much more!
Interested? Be the first in line. Sign up today for a Merge Innovation Tour and book a demo!BTN_register_today_blue.gif

HMMMMMM...."an innovative closed-loop imaging solution that will benefit radiologists, physicians and patients..."  I'm thinking I'm fairly close on the "Cloud PACS" prediction. I'll still accept a ride in the Tesla, or Karma, or Maybach...

Sunday, October 07, 2012

PACS Down Under

My communications from Western Australia continue in a rather dismal vein. One source tells me:
PACS goes completely down for hours at a time some days. Docs are reporting directly from modalities on occasions just to get the work done. Backlog has reached >1000 dictations. Agfa IS bringing in support from US and Europe to get it fixed.
Sadly, the "fixes" may be worse than the problem. Another source relates:
People ARE coming in, but nothing getting any better. If anything, what little we hear is people trying to make excuses and make stupid tweaks that are either likely to do nothing or compensate for the crapness of the software like:
  • Remove any useful web browsers...work stations are locked to Windows XP 
  • Restrict workstations to IE 6, and so additional computers are needed for any purpose other than PACS
  • Adjusting page file size to compensate poor memory management.
  • Changing to more expensive video cards and monitors.
It’s infuriating seeing more taxpayers dollars still getting wasted. The fact that the PACS goes down for not just hours, but days at a time, makes the radiology department an irrelevant laughing stock.
Um...Agfa? Are you listening yet?

Enough of this. I KNOW the Agfa brass reads this blog. I have asked for your comments a dozen times, and nothing. How about a statement? I think your customers, current and ESPECIALLY potential, would like to know what went wrong.

Our IMPAX 6.5 PACS does work. It isn't perfect, and it isn't my favorite, but it works, with far less downtime than my friends in WA are experiencing. Most stations are now on Windows 7, with IE 8, and no have few if any problems. The Agfa people on the ground in WA are clearly barking up the wrong tree.

What's the problem? As far as I know, machinery in the Southern Hemisphere should work pretty much the same as in the Northern Hemisphere. Perhaps the PACS is experiencing "G'Day" overload...

Here's my advice to Agfa:  Replace all hardware, and reload every bit of software with the current version, the version I have, and migrate all data as rapidly and safely as possible to the new system. Don't like that idea? Let's hear a better one.

And I would be very hesitant, at least if I were outside the US, to make a purchase until this situation is solved. But that's just me.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012


I just received this comment on the "Mouse and Keyboard" post:

Walter Stevens has left a new comment on your post "The Mouse And The KeyboardA Radiology Fairy Tale": 
My father is a radiologist and I'm constantly astonished by his hospital's slow decision-making abilities. They are interested in providing quality care to their patients, but are often not willing to spend the money to invest in good pacs systems that will actually GIVE the patients the care they deserve. 
If you were to click the link hidden in the mis-capitalized phrase "pacs systems", you would be sent to....NovaRad!

I will nicely request that NovaRad cease and desist from posting this not particularly clever form of blogspam. It isn't appreciated, and it really tells us a lot more about your product than you want us to know.

Just ask DelawareRad.