Canon debuts software system for medical digital imaging and information management

Irvine 18 September 2003Canon's Eye Q Sharp, a new software digital imaging and information management system that will deliver medical imaging network connectivity options and services for the Canon's Eye Q Digital Retinal Imaging System, has been introduced by the medical systems division of Canon U.S.A. Inc., a subsidiary of Canon Inc. Canon's Eye Q Sharp, which is designed to facilitate compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), was shown for the first time at the International Vision Expo, September 17-20, 2003 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada.


Canon's Eye Q Sharp is believed to be the first Microsoft.NET open architecture-based product for clinical imaging applications. It will provide connection, expansion and distribution modules for ophthalmology screenings, including the diabetic screening sector. The Eye Q system will enable ophthalmologists and optometrists to capture instantly high-resolution digital images that can be reviewed, analysed, printed and digitally communicated anywhere in the world.

Canon's Eye Q Sharp can be ordered as an upgrade from the current Eye Q system, which uses the XP Pro platform. It also will be available on new systems this fall. The newly introduced Eye Q Digital Retinal Imaging System with Canon's Eye Q Sharp has a price range of $26.000 - $80.000, depending on configuration. Additional modules are expected to be available as developed.

Canon U.S.A. recently signed a technology, access, license and distribution agreement with Digital Healthcare of Cambridge, United Kingdom, for exclusive North American distribution and development rights to Digital Healthcare's Microsoft.NET-based medical and clinical imaging technology architecture.

Under the agreement, Canon U.S.A. will have exclusive North American rights for sales, marketing and applications development for the optometric, clinical ophthalmology and diabetes eye screening markets. Digital Healthcare's sales channel in the United States is expected to become integrated with the authorized network of Canon U.S.A. medical systems division dealers, focusing in the areas of clinical ophthalmology and diabetes eye screening.

The Microsoft.NET architecture utilized with Canon's Eye Q Sharp is a set of software technologies for connecting information, people, systems and devices. Small building block applications connect to each other and to other larger applications over the Internet, and these included, in the case of Canon's Eye Q Sharp:

  • Shared networks for electronic patient referral and primary care programmes.
  • Retinal screening centres and on-line clinical departments.
  • Mydriatic and non-mydriatic fundus cameras and optometric systems.
  • Medical practice databases and patient management systems.
  • Home devices that allow medical staff to review images and data over a secure virtual private network (VPN) connection.
  • Local and wide area networks.

"Microsoft.NET is about getting connected", stated Tsuneo Imai, director and assistant general manager, medical systems division, Canon U.S.A. Inc. "As more and more software uses XML as the standard messaging and reporting language, you will be able to connect software programmes and exchange data seamlessly. In the hospital, you will be able to share data from the fundus imaging, intra-ocular pressures and visual fields with data from the patient booking system through billing and reporting records. Externally, you can access data across networks. You can electronically refer patients, and you can share and exchange data across secure networks in a safe and efficient way."

With Microsoft.NET, the medical profession, and specifically the area that conducts diabetic ophthalmologic screenings, will be able to access the same server concurrently from more than one workstation. Canon's Eye Q Sharp system is designed to be flexible, allowing expansion module by module with a medical practice, and including stereoscopy, care pathway and electronic referral through Internet downloads.

Canon's Eye Q Sharp will permit the distribution of images and data from any capture station in various kinds of medical facilities to almost anywhere, including hundreds of medical stations, branches, satellite offices and home offices. Canon's Eye Q Sharp is written in the C sharp and visual basic computer languages, enabling easy imaging and reporting, shared information and data and secure information flow. The software allows database capacity to code and cross-reference every patient image, visit and observation.

Canon U.S.A. Inc. delivers consumer, business-to-business, and industrial imaging solutions. Its parent company Canon Inc. is a top patent-holder of technology, ranking third overall in the United States in 2001, with global revenues of $22 billion. Canon U.S.A. employs approximately 11.000 people at over 30 locations.

Leslie Versweyveld

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