"On a given day, our radiologists may be spread out in several different medical facilities including three hospitals and four clinics up to 50 miles apart, and each may need to provide specialised reading in as many additional locations", stated Roberto Martinez. M.D., partner in Delta Diagnostics. "We found we could rely on our Algotec system to enable us to manage the demanding caseload we need to succeed in today's health care environment. Without it, we would not be able to structure our practice as it is currently."
Previously, Delta Diagnostics, then known as Delta Radiology, was made up of nine radiologists serving one large hospital in Metairie, Lousiana. In 2000, Delta changed its name and expanded to 15 radiologists covering three independent hospitals and three separate clinics as well as their own new location in Slidell. Delta Diagnostics offers such specialised services as neuro- and musculo-skeletal radiology as well as nuclear medicine. Today, radiologists who used to sit across the hall from one another may now be 40 miles apart. But they function as a seamless group.
"Algotec provided us with sophisticated remote image communications with far more features than a traditional point-to-point teleradiology system at far less cost. Gone are the days of dedicated lines and inflexible scheduling. Web-based image distribution allows doctors to move to different settings during the day. Images acquired at any location are stored on a central server and may be accessed anywhere, whether at one of our facilities, at home or on the go. Moreover, we can arrange remote conferences and second opinions over the Internet in real time", explained Dr. Martinez.
For the Delta Diagnostics system, Algotec provided its MediSurf Web-based image access engine, which turns an ordinary Web browser into a sophisticated image viewer. Studies are stored on a server at the Delta Diagnostics main clinic in Slidell. All images are sent over existing Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) and cable broadband lines, eliminating costs of proprietary connections. At Slidell, reading takes place on a dedicated high-brightness monitor, while standard high-quality colour display monitors are used in remote locations, again keeping costs in check.
"The system also simplifies communications with referring physicians because they may access images right from their desktops", noted Dr. Martinez. "We looked at a wide range of vendors and solutions. Absolutely, Algotec offered the most advanced features for our budget. Because of its modular design, software components may be added as we need to expand our system in the future. And because Algotec has had Web-based installations since 1996, we have the peace of mind of knowing their technology is tried and true."
Algotec's solutions include the ProVision, a 3D multi-modality processing workstation; MediPrime, a radiology reading and reporting station; MediSurf, a Web-based image and data access and display engine; MediStore, a multi-media, multi-tier archiving system; MediFlow image management software; MediLink, a configurable interface to other hospital information systems such as health care information systems (HIS); Med-e-Mail, an automatic e-mail reporting system of key images and reports to referring physicians; and CD-Surf, a self-playing, soft copy (CD) media to substitute for the films for patients and referring physicians.