The wireless, cassette-size technology makes converting to digital radiology (DR) quick, easy and cost-effective, the firm reports. ‘A healthcare facility can utilise one detector for nearly all types of examination where a traditional cassette would be used. The DRX-1 system delivers high-quality preview images in less than five seconds, which significantly improves productivity, even for users of computed radiography (CR) systems.’
Recently in Germany for the system’s launch into Europe, Diana Nole, President of the firm’s Digital Medical Solutions division, met with Daniela Zimmermann and Meike Lerner, of European Hospital, to discuss the product. ‘Germany is a market where Carestream Health has significantly invested and we are now eager to see it grow,’ she explained, adding that, when first presented in Germany at an exclusive event in Düsseldorf, the DRX-1 generated considerable interest.
The DRX-1 has already been installed at the prestigious Frankfurt University Hospital where a performance trial has been underway for several weeks. ‘This is an important site for an installation of the DRX-1,’ said Diana Nole. ‘This customer has a demanding and varied workload for which high quality is essential. They will be truthful with us about their findings and also, because they see so many different types of patients, clinicians can offer advice regarding possible improvements to the system. We have invested in the innovation behind the DRX-1 since 2003. It is a very clever system enabling a hospital enterprise to immediately move from analogue to digital, because no modification is required to current equipment.’ This is obviously a major advantage for healthcare institutions looking to consolidate finances due to the worldwide economic slowdown. The DRX-1 utilises existing equipment to speed up workflow and improve image quality, helping to solve many of the daily productivity challenges that healthcare providers face.
Whilst there are specific differences between markets worldwide, all share common issues such as staff shortages and reimbursement difficulties. Often the transition to digital is a way of improving patient care and workflow.
Diana Nole and Ulf Andersson, Director of Marketing and Business Development, North Europe Region, also discussed the Carestream PACS System. What differentiates this system from its competitors? ‘Customers using the system can view all images across the entire enterprise and apply intelligent tools to produce a fast, high quality diagnosis,’ said Ulf Andersson. ‘Using the remote functionality is useful for sharing information between hospitals in a fast, real time environment. For example, in Scotland different hospitals are connected with our PACS and can view all records and share information via a single clinical system.’ Is this feature of inter-hospital connectivity really unique to Carestream Health? They certainly think so. Having invested in perfecting their PACS for many years they are confident of being the first to commercialise a fully operational system that offers this level of advanced capability and functionality. ‘We have considerable archiving expertise, which enables us to customise the system to match customer aims and objectives for their data,’ said Diana Nole. ‘Innovative technology allows movement of the data to different sites from where it can be accessed remotely from any location, be it home or hotel. Unlike other systems, which use application plug-ins, the Carestream Health solution has been developed to ensure that all desired data manipulation can be achieved on just one PACS workstation by embedding advanced and 3-D applications for a more efficient workflow.’
An upcoming release from Carestream Health will be the SuperPACS Architecture, designed to connect with PACS from other companies. This offers advantages to institutions in ‘replacement mode’ but which are unwilling to invest in a large upgrade, Carestream explains. The new architecture communicates with legacy systems to drive greater productivity and efficiency, enabling the sharing of patient images and information, while also delivering a global work list that balances exam reading amongst on-site and off-site radiologists. This unique infrastructure is currently being trialled in the USA, reading information from Fuji, Agfa and GE PACS.
Is the current financial crisis having an impact on Carestream Health? Diana Nole feels the company is in a good position to ride the storm because Carestream Health has such an extensive portfolio of solutions, they are not over-exposed. In addition she added: ‘Our systems are innovative, offering high quality for an affordable price: the DRX-1 has been described as the “iPod of healthcare”, and we hope its success will be similar.’