Category Archives: Radiology - Page 2

PeerVision Update

I covered PeerVision back at its launch in June. I have checked back on it a couple of times. There has been very little activity on the site, at least as far as the forums go. I don’t know if their blogs get much traffic. I am not sure that PeerVision really has an attractive value curve for visitors that would allow it to effectively compete with other internet communities such as AuntMinnie. It is an interesting experiment but I think that it needs better content to draw people to the site.

Come on. Hire a guy to walk around with a video camera and interview people, ala Robert Scoble. Being a little naked in front of your customers is not bad. Bring us something that does not exist anywhere else.

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GE Launches PeerVision

Today GE launched a beta release PeerVision which is a website that will help foster community collaboration on the web. The site has blogs, forums and a library. The site is organized around four communities, Outpatient Imaging Centers, Advanced Visualization, the Signa 3.0T (MRI Scanner), and MyReadingSpace. Within each of those communities there is a separate forum and blog. The blogging is done by guest bloggers who are not GE employees that will blog on important issues.

While I think that the site will be a net positive I think that it is somewhat limited. The primary two way communication medium will be the forums. I am not sure that the blogs will be updated enough, although I am an information junkie so I like lots of posts. I will be interested to see what the uptake among radiologists is. Radiologists tend to be older so the forums may work well. Auntminnie already has established forums and they do get traffic. I don’t consider PeerVision to be a game changer. I would have liked to see something with some social networking capabilities that might make it sticky among its users. The other thing that might have worked well is the Channel 9 model of building community around video or some other content. Let’s see what the people think….

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Bernie Huang

Dalai has a post about Dr. Bernie Huang. Dr. Huang truly is an expert and leader in the field of imaging informatics. I just wanted to add that he has written what I consider to be by far the best book on the topic, PACS and Imaging Informatics: Basic Principles and Applications. The book is a very in depth text book that explains the principles of many technologies that are used in imaging informatics.

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PACS 2.0

Dalai has a post about PACS customization that touches on something that I have been thinking about. The current state of what vendors call customization is sadly pathetic. Changing some options is not customization. The first and most basic method of customization is being able to build completely custom UIs. This goes far beyond hanging protocols and would allow the user to alter any visual element in the PACS. The second is having an open and documented API for third party software developers to build software that runs inside or on top of the PACS. This is a toolkit for programmers. The third would be a widget like interface, something like Google IG or netvibes. This would allow power users who are not software developers but are comfortable with editing HTML or other markup languages to make addins and UI widgets.

Why would a PACS vendor ever offer such a thing? Well why does Microsoft allow anyone to write software that runs ontop of Microsoft Office? The reason is simple. Software that is built as a platform is much more valuable than a standalone application. Open source office software is not going to have trouble trying to take market share from Microsoft Office because it is not as good, but rather because vendors and organizations have built thousands of pieces of software that add value to Microsoft Office, making it much more valuable than what comes out of the box.

The first PACS vendor to treat their PACS like a platform will have a real advantage. A good platform is hard to replicate. It is a strong competitive advantage. Do I see this happening? No. PACS companies are too busy replicating each others features to think about truly changing the industry. This is one time where a company should lead its users.

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Evalutating a Software as a Service Vendor

ZDNet has a great article on what to look for in a software as a service (SaaS) vendor. While SaaS has not caught on in a serious way in healthcare yet that will change. It will take a few years because of peoples fear about data traveling outside the enterprise but the cost savings of doing so will be too great. I wish I could launch a SaaS in healthcare today but I have grave doubts about adoption.

Now OnStartups.com has a post saying the opposite of that. I think though in healthcare today people will still be very concerned about privacy. I say privacy instead of security since today it is possible to build very secure services.

GoogleMIRC in the blogosphere

Catscanman has posted an article on his blog about GoogleMIRC at RSNA. Please check out the public version at YottaLook. Nice to see that this is generating interest.

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GoogleMIRC Reborn

GoogleMIRC, my exhibit at RSNA, has been reborn as Yottalook and is now online. Yottalook is a free radiology-centric search engine based on Google’s indexing technology with proprietary relevance algorithm by iVirtuoso. Currently, Yottalook Images and Yottalook References search engines are available for use. Yottalook Image has specially been designed to search radiology images from various peer-reviewed online sources and currently has access to over 100,000 images. Yottalook References has been designed to search online radiology sources only. Try various refinement options to narrow your search requests even further. Please try it out and send us your feedback.

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Deficit Reduction Act

Recently Congress passed the Deficit Reduction Act which among other things reduced the amount of money that imaging centers can bill for when performing radiology studies. Dalai points out that the ACR was not effective at lobbying congress on the behalf of radiologists. I agree but want to point out that healthcare in general is not effective at lobbying congress. This is why we cannot use SSN to identify a patient across facilities while those in finance can. The whole industry is bad at lobbying and has been for a long time.

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Osirix

Osirix is an open source DICOM viewer for Mac. This year at RSNA as usual the osirix team had many talks and demos. One of the talks happened to be in the session that I was also presenting in. The presentation that I listened to was about authoring teaching files using Osirix and other Mac applications and then publishing them to the web. The presenter also showed how simple tagging could be used to tag cases. Come on guys. This sucked.

The teaching files were authored by saving JPEG images and them using an apple web page generator with templates to make a web page that looks nice and upload to an apple site. This is the same single vendor approach that we have been fighting for 15 years in Radiology. Just because it is a mac and has shiny buttons does not make it better. Every piece that was showed can be done on Windows today. Support for the IHE TCE profile, which allows teaching files to be authored from inside the PACS and sent to any TCE aware teaching file was not discussed. Tagging was limited to a single persons tags. Have some imagination. Tagging is about sharing. I love del.icio.us. For anything that I tag I can see what other people used. I think that tagging has limited value when it is not social.

In the year 2006 we are trying to build interoperable software. We know we can build single vendor solutions that work. We can build them on any platform. The Osirix people should be looking to the web, not the Mac if they want to really push software in radiology. A collaborative teaching file written in AJAX on a platform like Zoho would be awesome. Allowing people access to your system is what we need. Another Osirix exhibit I saw should how using apple technologies two Osirix system can talk to each other through the Internet. Good Lord. Do the authors really think we are so stupid to think that this is some great breakthrough that apple and the osirix team have achieved. Frankly I am disgusted by what I saw. It is just someone saying "Me too, me too. Look what I can do." Nothing that was shown was original.

GE Healthcare Blogs

GE has launched a couple of blogs. They are somewhat corporate sounding but I will give them a chance. Remember GE, your employees and customers need to be able to criticize you on your blog in an open environment. That is the mark of truly impressive organization.

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