Vital Images introduces ViTALConnect and signs PACS integration agreement with Sectra

Minneapolis 20 May 2004Vital Images Inc., an advanced medical imaging software company, has introduced ViTALConnect, a medical diagnostic software tool that allows physicians to use PCs or notebook computers to access 2D, 3D and 4D advanced visualization from a Web-enabled thin-client server. Vital Images also has signed an integration agreement with Sectra, a Sweden-based provider of picture archive and communication systems (PACS) throughout the world. Under this agreement, Vital Images' Vitrea 2 software for advanced 3D visualization and analysis will be integrated with Sectra PACS solutions.

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With ViTALConnect, users can process, analyse, review and distribute multi-dimensional medical images securely over the Internet. ViTALConnect is the company's first Web-enabled offering which has been adapted from a product developed by HInnovation, a company Vital Images acquired in February 2004. Vital Images launched the new product at the Society for Computer Applications in Radiology (SCAR) 2004 Annual Meeting in Vancouver.

"ViTALConnect opens an exciting new market for the company and fits our strategy to provide more physicians with greater access to advanced visualization", stated Jay D. Miller, Vital Images president and chief executive officer. "When Vital Images acquired HInnovation, our first priority was to vitalize their product and introduce a Web-based visualization product. Many physicians outside radiology, including surgeons and other referring physicians, depend on advanced visualization to plan surgeries and other therapies. For them, accessibility, whenever and wherever they need it, is a more important attribute than having every advanced analysis feature. We are also excited about the collaboration mode within ViTALConnect, which enables multiple physicians in different locations to confer while interacting with the same images in real time."

ViTALConnect can analyse datasets from computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance (MR) and positron emission tomography (PET) scanners, as well as a variety of other modalities. The software enables users to manipulate, measure, rotate and segment images and turns everyday PCs into diagnostic workstations. An advanced vessel analysis option aids clinicians in the study of blood vessel and circulatory anatomy and in planning and monitoring vascular therapies. Cardiac images composed of multiple phases can be viewed over time in 4D, creating a beating heart in time-series coronary studies. In addition, ViTALConnect software can fuse images from two different scanning modalities (such as PET/CT) at the same time, to give clinicians richer diagnostic information.

With regard to the recent agreement between Vital Images and Sectra, all current and future Sectra PACS customers who have purchased Vitrea will have the ability to access the advanced visualization tools at their Sectra workstations. This partnership is effective immediately.

"Sectra is a global expert in PACS installations, and we look forward to a productive partnership", stated Phil Smith, Vital Images vice president of marketing and corporate development. "Bringing Vitrea to the PACS market is an important growth strategy for Vital Images, and this agreement represents the next step in our ongoing PACS integration strategy. Since all Sectra PACS customers will be able to operate Vitrea visualization tools easily from the Sectra work flow, this alliance opens a new customer base for our sales reps and distributors to approach about Vitrea. At the same time, we are continuing to work with McKesson Information Solutions, the company's initial entree into the high-growth PACS arena."

Martin Hakansson, manager for Sectra Clinical Solutions Network (CSN), commented: "Vital Images is a specialist in advanced 3D visualization, and we are pleased to partner with them. Our customers increasingly rely on 3D images to diagnose conditions and plan therapies. Offering Vitrea is a way to provide a more complete system to physicians throughout the health care facility."

Accessing Vitrea through a PACS network means more physicians - radiologists and referring physicians - can make use of 3D visualization and analysis solutions. The use of PACS by hospitals and clinics is growing rapidly; Vital Images expects PACS-related sales to ramp up in 2004 and reach significant levels in 2005. Enabling hospitals and clinics to acquire, distribute and archive medical images and diagnostic reports across the health care system, PACS solutions eliminate the need for film and can significantly improve productivity. Sectra has installations in Scandinavia and most other European countries, as well as the Far East and North America.

Sectra is one of today's major diagnostic imaging providers with more than 450 installations worldwide. Sectra's core business is to deliver top-of-the-line, high-availability, robust enterprise diagnostic imaging for 24/7 operation. In Scandinavia, Sectra is the market leader with more than 50 percent of all film-free installations. The company also has a large number of systems installed in most major countries in Europe, the Far East and North America, in co-operation with partners.

Vital Images is a provider of advanced visualization software for use in disease screening applications, clinical diagnosis and therapy planning. The company's technology utilizes high-speed volume visualization and analysis, as well as network communications based on DICOM and Internet protocols. Vital Images cost-effectively brings 3D visualization and analysis into the day-to-day practice of medicine.


Leslie Versweyveld

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