At the annual conference of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA; Oakbrook, Illinois) this week in Chicago, the Eastman Kodak Company (Rochester, New York) booth is staying quite busy, Todd Minnigh, the global director of marketing for medical imaging at Kodak, told Medical Device Daily. So far, Minnigh said, he couldn't ask for a better RSNA conference.

At the conference, Kodak is presenting its latest healthcare technologies intended to enhance patient comfort and help radiologists detect cancer at an early stage. Kodak's demonstrations at RSNA include a digital X-ray system designed to move around the patient to minimize painful positioning changes, and a digital mammography system that features built-in software to help radiologists detect suspicious areas that might require further review.

Minnigh said the new Kodak Directview DR 9500 digital radiography system features a ceiling-mounted viewing arm designed to move around the patient to facilitate patient positioning and to enhance convenience and productivity for the technologist.

"By taking this kind of approach what we get is the usefulness of a dual-detector system out of a single-detector design," Minnigh said.

This results in a lower price than a dual-detector system, Minnigh said, though he declined to estimate how much the Kodak Directview DR 9500 would cost.

According to Kodak, the design, along with automated exam settings and other features, is intended to improve the speed of each exam while minimizing the need for patient movement. Because it minimizes the need for patients to change position on the X-ray table, Kodak said its technology could enhance care, especially for patients who are seriously ill or are in pain. The company is in the process of getting FDA clearance for the new digital X-ray system, Minnigh said, and expects it to be available worldwide in the first half of 2007.

Also at RSNA, Kodak displayed a digital imaging system for breast imaging exams, which has entered the final phases of regulatory review in the U.S. Kodak's mammography feature equips users of its most popular computed radiography (CR) imaging systems with the special requirements needed to conduct mammography exams, according to the company.

In conjunction with the imaging solution, Kodak demonstrated software that is expected to identify suspicious areas on mammographic exams so radiologists can closely examine these regions for possible disease during a second review. Kodak says the software can be a valuable tool in the fight against breast cancer by helping radiologists detect cancer at an early stage.

Kodak also showed new capabilities for its image management platform, which handles the review, distribution and storage of medical imaging studies. Kodak has added a new technology that enables remote physicians to view patients' medical images without needing a large bandwidth connection. The new technology makes it possible for the medical imaging exams of an accident victim to be shared with an on-call radiologist who is working from home, or for a specialist in another state to help determine the cause of complications in a post-surgical patient, Kodak said.

Kodak's Health Group, with 2005 revenues of $2.65 billion, supplies the medical and dental professions with healthcare products, services and information technology solutions. Its portfolio includes picture archiving and communications systems (PACS), radiology information systems (RIS), healthcare information systems, computed radiography (CR) and digital radiography (DR) systems, laser imagers, mammography and oncology systems, X-ray film systems, dental imaging products, and a range of consulting – as well as repair and maintenance – services.

In other news from the RSNA meeting:

Royal Philips Electronics (Amsterdam; the Netherlands) introduced the Philips BrightView single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) system, a compact nuclear medicine camera designed to offer improved image quality and be highly scalable to meet varying requirements. The system, along with other new solutions, such as Philips GEMINI TF combined PET/CT system, Philips xLNA computer-aided detection (CAD) software, Philips Achieva 3.0T X-series, and Philips Live 3D guidance tools, are being showcased at the Philips exhibit floor booth at the meeting.

Philips says its BrightView SPECT system offers exceptional image quality in a fast, easy-to-use package and is compact. Featuring a range of innovations to help healthcare providers manage patient care, BrightView SPECT is a variable-angle camera differentiated by Philips CloseUp technologies, which enable higher resolution through smarter software, new electronics and minimal distance between detector and patient, according to the company.

Amicas (Boston, Massachusetts) debuted RadStream, a product designed to revolutionize radiology workflow. RadStream was developed at Cincinnati Children's Hospital (Cincinnati) to address problems in a complex radiology environment, Amicas said.

In April, Amicas acquired the rights to RadStream and in collaboration with Cincinnati Children's began building a new RadStream with the core functionality of Amicas' Real Time Worklist, Amicas Vision Link integration engine and RadStream's functionality.

RadStream is designed to automate workflow and communication through the entire radiology experience and to integrate disparate environments with a single unified worklist.

Amicas also is displaying its Vision Reach system, a product designed to help grow imaging businesses. The company said it has already begun selling the product.

Designed to cater to the referring physician, according to Amicas, Vision Reach provides proactive electronic delivery notifying the physician when exam results are ready. Harnessing Web-based technologies, the product integrates the radiology report with key images and creates a single "multimedia" report for referring physicians. Vision Reach then uses common e-mail and secure messaging to deliver images, reports and information to any e-mail enabled device.

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