In an interview with Medical Device Daily, Stefan Vilsmeier, the founder and CEO of privately held BrainLAB, said the best-selling Digital Lightbox is the front end of the company's strategy to seize opportunities in a market he sees "moving and spinning faster and faster with technological change.

"If you look at how much hospitals are investing today in generating new data, they would need only fraction of that to invest in systems to help them use that data," he said.

"Hospitals are investing a fortune into higher and higher resolution of anatomical data, metabolic data, functional data, genetic data, etc," Vilsmeier added.

"It is now coming to the point where no physician has the time to look at all the different images being taken. Yet this trend is only going to grow another five-fold in the next five years," he said.

"Where the PACs systems are falling short is that to actually use the data, to make it clinically relevant, you need to complete certain steps for planning the treatment," Vilsmeier said, "and PACs systems are not designed to handle the data in a way where a surgeon can get all the information they need."

Currently the strongest synergies within hospitals groups for information management are within administration and billing, he said, but there is not the same emphasis on the integration of patient services.

"But this does not assure that patients receive the same access to medical expertise independent of the expertise at the hospital where they enter the system," Vilsmeier said.

Turning data available on a shared server into useable information with a more intuitive front-end device creates the potential for experts at large facilities to participate remotely in treatment decisions being made at a smaller satellite clinic or emergency center.

— John Brosky, European Editor