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In a time where radiological budgets are uncertain and personnel has become scarce, more and more service providers are entering the market and offering services in technical image acquisition. In this case, a hospital simply purchases individual findings or acquired datasets, rather than hiring an in-house radiologist or purchasing an imaging device.

For such service providers, there is a serious need for a imaging communication solution. The product must offer fast and efficient workflows as well as various options for connecting with clients. In VivoNet, Digital Medics offers just such a solution.

At the core of this imaging communication solution is the modern VivoNet transfer protocol, which was developed especially for communications through a wide-area network (WAN). In contrast to local networks, WANs are notable for their high latency and low bandwidth.

In cases where the service provider is not required to archive images long-term, such a scenario can be easily handled with the very lean components in VivoNet’s system: The service provider doesn’t maintain a complete long-term archive, but rather a VivoNet adapter, which accepts or transmits the images.

The order communication between the different information systems on the client side is handled by the equally lean VivoNet web interface. This refers to a networking solution for the production of findings, which performs the following functions system-wide:

  • Vendor neutral order communication.
  • Role-based views and order  tracking for jobs.
  • Digital dictation (integrated SpeechMike support).
  • Workspace for typists.
  • Appointment scheduling.

Occasional clients can be integrated just with a VivoLab Web Viewer, whereas for regular clients a connection using a VivoNet Adapter is more appropriate. This appears as a DICOM node in the hospital network and as a VivoNet server in the WAN.

The quality of your services is thus improved thanks to the simplicity and speed of the VivoNet system. Rapid growth is the result. Thanks to campus-wide licensing for client communications, you can safely plan for the future.

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Ten years ago, multi-layer technology in computer tomography was still a costly technological revolution. But today, CT scanners with 16 slices are a must even for small hospitals.

However, it is often just not possible to afford a full-time in-house radiologist. In this scenario, the availability of teleradiology solutions have made possible new models of cooperation between radiological departments and surrounding smaller institutions. These can thus secure provision of emergency services.

Of course, in an emergency situation, rapid reaction and shortened times for findings are necessary: The image transfer is on the critical path. Normally, the PACS providers resort to the panacea of image compression.

However, Digital Medics – in cooperation with radiologists – identified further possibilities to reduce the potentially life-threatening time-to-diagnosis: Emergency acquisition protocols for instance require the technician to generate a multitude of reformats in addition to the scan of different body regions.

The result is a large number of image series that are usually transferred sequentially. If the radiologist wants to quickly rule out a rupture in a leg artery, he or she not only is forced to wait for the cranial sequence to be transmitted, but also to wait for the relevant reformatted sagittal and coronal layers. Only then can he or she begin with the transfer of the leg sequences.

Digital Medics therefore expanded their own finding softwareVivoLab with the so-called user-controlled prioritization: In the first step, only thumbnails of the available series are sent to the VivoLab client, and at the same time, the transfer of the first series is started. If you want to see the leg sequence first, simply drag the relevant thumbnail into the viewing window.

VivoLab re-prioritizes the transfer accordingly so that the leg sequence is transferred first. This re-prioritization even takes place at the individual image level. Within the leg sequence, scrolling to a position in the dataset gives that part of the sequence higher priority automatically.

The result is a user interaction that is just what is called for in this critical situation, and makes it possible for the radiologist to fine-tune navigation of datasets while not forcing him or her to wait until the download has finally reached the needed spot.

The best part is that smaller hospitals don’t even need to use the Digital Medics PACS. It’s enough if the central radiology department uses the Digital Medics product and the smaller satellite institutions use a VivoNet Adapter to connect. Thus you can use the latest modern technology without getting tangled up in the IT structure of the smaller satellite providers.

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On-Call Duties

The oldest task in teleradiology is certainly to support on-call duties. Here, too, the radiologist can benefit from the speed of VivoNet transfer technology.

For on-call duties, Digital Medics uses the same software as for the clinical workplace. To that end, the VivoLab workstation was enhanced with automatic logging of transfer times. This qualifies the workstation for approval for teleradiology under german x-ray regulations. Thus you can at last also use post-processing modules like MIP/MPR or VR at home and on the road.

For teleradiological purposes, like viewing images while away, Digital Medics offers the VivoLab Web Viewer for laptops as well. By using a mobile connection, such as a UMTS stick, you can access your clinic’s PACS from anywhere.

The advantages of VivoNet teleradiology solutions are not just for users of a Digital Medics PACS. With the VivoNet Adapter, you can also enhance DICOM-compliant systems from other providers with modern teleradiology solutions – and thus protect your investment without having to give up on progress.

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