The AW technology ecosystem at RSNA 2014

Bryan VanMeter

The extent of AW advanced visualization applications utilization for multiple imaging modalities and care areas becomes more apparent every year at RSNA. This year, various AW advanced visualization, decision support and treatment planning software applications are being presented at more than 40 locations within the GE Healthcare booth. MR, CT, Molecular Imaging, Interventional Radiology and Healthcare IT business will all be demonstrating how AW applications are enhancing the clinical value of their modality, and in some cases the value of utilizing datasets from multiple modalities and/or time points. Many of the stations will also be highlighting the power of AW to help improve the interoperability between one imaging modality and another modality as well as PACS systems.1,2

In order to meet our desire to have AW solutions available to support customers in nearly every corner of the GE Healthcare booth, we are leveraging GE’s thin-client and PACS connectivity technology. The majority of the AW stations will be accessing applications and imaging datasets stored on servers rather than dedicated workstations. Additionally, all 14 Centricity™ PACS stations will be accessing and demonstrating AW applications through the seamless Universal Viewer interface.1,2   Through managing our RSNA technology ecosystem needs with this approach, in a small way we are addressing the same needs our enterprise imaging customers are facing. That of a growing population of clinicians requiring access to advanced visualization and decision support software when they need it and wherever they may be, which is a trend being experienced globally.3

Emerging role of thin client architecture in advanced visualization
In a thin client system, advanced visualization applications are server based rather than being tied to a single 3D dedicated workstation. With thin client architecture, the complex post-processing work is performed by these centralized servers. This allows enterprise-wide access, multi-care area integration, and with internet or network access, provides clinicians with the ability to view and interact with images and data from almost anywhere. Historically, thin client access has been through PCs, however there is a growing need to access advanced visualization tools from mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones.The continued pairing of desktop PC, laptops and mobile personal computing devices with server based AW applications holds great potential to truly expand the power of AW across the healthcare enterprise.

Some customers in our booth today told me they felt a server based solution was the best option for them because it provided greater flexibility and continuity over dedicated workstations. They enjoyed the flexibility of being able to access AW applications from any workstation. Additionally, they appreciated that by having applications stored on a centralized server, all users, regardless of location would be accessing the same version level of software.

Continued integration of advanced visualization tools into PACS
While most PACS vendors are increasingly incorporating common advanced visualization tools into their systems, there will be a continuing challenge to maintain competitiveness in this area through providing advanced post-processing solutions for specialized applications. Likely the growing need for these specialized applications will be driven by the technology advances such as PET/MR3, as well as the temporal and spatial resolution gains being made across diagnostic imaging.

This type of customer feedback I’m receiving at RSNA is encouraging and supports the unique value AW’s partnership with GE’s imaging modalities and Centricity PACS can bring to the marketplace. Additionally, it positions us well to continue to bring meaningful analysis tools and enterprise-wide integrated workflows solutions to markets across the globe.

References

  1. AW Server 3 for Universal Viewer, Product Data Sheet
  2. AW Server 2, Product Data Sheet
  3. Healthcare IT Report, World Market for Advanced Visualization, IHS Technology; July 2014

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