About a year ago, the US Government's Department of Defence (DoD) placed an order of fl. 80-100 million with Applicare, a Dutch company specialized in visualization software, for the large-scale DIN-PACS (Picture Archival Computer System) project. Today, Applicare Medical Imaging has signed an agreement with Pegasus Imaging Corporation, based in Florida, to integrate the latter's advanced wavelet image compression techniques into the RadWorks product line, as developed by Applicare. The latest version 4.0 in this programme assortment offers tools for storage and processing of medical images, produced with X-ray, Magnetic Resonance, Computed Tomography (CT), and Ultrasound.
Before closing the deal with Pegasus, Applicare used the wavelet algorithms, provided by Aware but this company has limited all future sales opportunities to South Africa and Australia. The Pegasus software, which is clinically tested and fully approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), combines high compression levels with excellent image quality. The wavelet technology still hasn't been selected as the standard by the DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine) committee but Applicare cannot afford to wait any longer to meet the urgent market demands for its availability, according to managing director Ruud Kroon. As a result, the wavelet compression and decompression software will be incorporated in the RadWorks 4.0 release as an option.
Next to wavelet compression capabilities, the new RadWorks version offers DICOM modality worklist integration. The integrated report window gives access to the Hospital Information System (HIS) for report retrieval and can also be applied for report typing, starting up a wordprocessor with templates, voice recognition with digital dictation, and firing up a Web browser. Users throughout the hospital are able to log in after registration and are granted their own set of permissions and preferred user interface. The programme's Quality Control module serves as a "gatekeeper" to the PACS, allowing to introduce essential corrections in patient demographics, DICOM header information, image order, window levels, and many other items.
Applicare's global distribution network as well as its OEM partners (Original Equipment Manufacturers) Kodak, Picker and IBM will immediately supply the new imaging options. The DIN-PACS offering for the DoD also is likely to triple in size in the long run. Therefore, the US Navy will soon start testing the innovative Pegasus wavelet technology. The future RadWorks versions are planned to integrate Pegasus high-speed lossless JPEG compression in order to support multi-frame lossless compressed images, such as cardiac studies. WebViewer, which is yet another Applicare design, equally will include the new wavelet technology. Several Dutch hospitals are closely following this development in order to timely switch to digital radiology applications.
Thanks to the powerful viewing facilities in RadWorks 4.0, communication with referring physicians is facilitated. Key image marking functions enable the radiologist to rapidly indicate a set of diagnostic relevant images. Via the synchronized cine, it is possible to link multiple cines in order to present a fast survey of the anatomy by means of various image series or different window levels. True size display allows physicians to take measurements directly from the screen. The newly introduced Multiplanar Reformatting and Maximum Intensity Projection (MPR/MIP) module turns RadWorks 4.0 into a very performing tool, able to match the high-end workstations at an affordable cost. For more information on the RadWorks software, we refer to the article Giant Pentagon seduced by Dutch Dwarf Applicare's medical imaging software Radworks in the VMW January 1998 issue.