A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

The Health Group of Eastman Kodak (Rochester, New York) and National Digital Medical Archive (NDMA; Berwyn, Pennsylvania) have reported a collaboration on initiatives that support the European mammography market's transition from analog to digital imaging and information technology. Kodak and NDMA will combine each other's products and systems to create a family of solutions that will enable healthcare facilities to better manage, archive and process images and information related to mammography screening.

The products involved include Kodak's Carestream Information Management Solutions. These solutions, driven by the Kodak VIParchive software platform, combine software, hardware and services to enable the consolidation, control and access to all fixed archived content within a healthcare facility or among multiple healthcare facilities within a geographic region.

Also to be involved are data and image management tools that NDMA will introduce, including analytical tools required for quality assurance and compliance, along with visualization tools dedicated to streamlining the often-complicated workflow processes involved with mammography.

"The solutions that evolve from integrating Kodak and NDMA products will enable healthcare facilities to collect, retrieve, store and distribute digital images and information on demand, thus helping enhance workflow efficiencies, increase revenue and improve patient care," said Ian Marron, director of eHealth, for the Health Group in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Also part of the effort is the introduction of myNDMA, a health portal providing patients with personal health record management tools to securely upload and store their digital medical images and electronic health records into a private web site. The program allows patients to identify a service bureau to digitize mammography films, store prior mammograms from previous healthcare providers, locate digital imaging facilities and link to healthcare provider records stored in myNDMA.

Derek Danois, president of NDMA, said the health portal enables women who are undergoing screening mammography exams to link to myNDMA and see that their studies are safely secured and manage the corresponding medical records in the personal file folders. "More importantly, myNDMA ties a physician and patient together for the patient's entire life, including self-populated family history and self-breast examination logs."

"Our Carestream information management solutions coupled with NDMA's solution-layer architecture, post-processing analytics and consumer health portal, provides "a never-before seen approach to comprehensive mammography screening in healthcare," Marron said.

Separately, Kodak's Health Group said it is playing a key role in one of the most important healthcare initiatives in Italy. Carestream solutions will be installed across the 14 hospitals that make up the Tuscany South East Region, which has more than 800,000 residents and handles more than 1 million annual radiological examinations.

In 2003, the regional health authorities of Tuscany South East, in accordance with regional guidelines, embarked on a process of diagnostic computerization. The aim was to implement a unified system that would allow sharing of information, clinical data, medical reports and images produced by the radiology services of the hospital structures in the area, including the local health centers of Siena, Arezzo and Grosseto and the University Hospital of Siena.

The project was awarded in 2005 following a public bid for tenders in which Kodak participated as the project leader of a business group with GE Healthcare (Waukesha, Wisconsin). Work began on implementing a RIS radiology information system and picture archiving and communications system architecture in June to enable the management and archiving of images and data, distributed across a network of clustered servers.

Kodak said initial rollout of the new system has led to numerous benefits at many levels, including increased efficiency, rationalization of processes and significant workflow improvements within the hospital structures involved. Health professionals now have rapid, secure and universal access to both images and information.

Francesco Vannoni, chief executive of ESTAV South East, one of the three sub-regional technical and administrative service units in Tuscany, said, "After several months of operation, we can say that we have a system that is performing excellently. We have calculated that within five to eight years the cost of implementing this technology will be repaid. We are proud to be partners and promoters of a project that is today unique in Europe in terms of size and importance."

Kodak's Health Group supplies the medical and dental professions with information systems and systems for both digital and conventional imaging.

1 million invested in Myconostica

Amphion Innovations (London), a developer of life science and medical technology businesses, said it has invested 1 million in its latest partner company, Myconostica, a spin-out from the University of Manchester.

Myconostica says it specializes in a new type of molecular diagnostic test for infectious diseases, particularly life-threatening respiratory fungal infections, allowing faster and more precise diagnosis. The tests will reduce death rates, shorten recovery times and hospital stays, and reduce the cost of care for these types of patients, the company said.

The firm has secured an international intellectual property position in advances in molecular diagnostics, including licenses from the University of Manchester, the Public Health Research Institute (PHRI; Newark, New Jersey) and other leading research centers.

Amphion said its investment will give it a stake of 35% on a fully diluted basis and will allow Myconostica to develop its products and intellectual property and build its management and marketing teams. Amphion's participation also is intended to accelerate access to key U.S. markets.

Fungal infections remain the most common cause of infectious death in many types of acutely ill patients, for example those who have undergone transplants or those who are suffering from infections affecting their immune system, such as HIV. Myconostica said its tests produce results in hours, rather than the days currently required, greatly improving the time to treatment.

Clinical studies are scheduled to start in 1Q07, with international regulatory approvals anticipated in the second and third quarters of 2007.

The market size for respiratory diagnostics for fungal infection alone is estimated to be more than $100 million annually.