GE and EMC brings simple digital imaging to hospitals

GE Healthcare has teamed up with storage giant EMC to offer a picture archiving and communications system (PACS) designed for...

GE Healthcare has teamed up with storage giant EMC to offer a picture archiving and communications system (PACS) designed for smaller hospitals and facilities.

The new Centricity PACS SE is a scaled-down version of GE's Centricity PACS Enterprise Edition.

"We have used our manufacturing knowledge to ship a complete, ready-to-go PACS that is fully configured," said Peter McClennen, global general manager of PACS at GE.

"Hospital installation can be one day rather than four to five months. Users can display digital images in one day," adding that a benefit is that time to filmless operation is reduced.

PACS technology, which makes it easy to share digital images for diagnosis, has been out of the price range of many healthcare facilities. Storage of all those images - files can be as large as one gigabyte per patient study - is also an expense.

"Until now, an online repository required a significant investment for community hospitals," said Bruce Lynn, EMC's director of marketing for healthcare solutions. He said the alliance formed with GE will help drive down the price of image archives.

The IT component is based on Intel-based server hardware and EMC's Clariion AX100 system. Each unit incorporates 12 Serial ATA drives for up to 2.25 terabytes of storage. Imaging applications are also provided, including the Centricity RA 1000 radiology package, software for visualising huge data sets such as CT scans, and a program for distributing images via the web.

Setting up a PACS can be time-consuming, but GE said it has simplified that process.

"We spent a lot of time writing code that gets installed at the factory so the box comes up well-organised," McLennen said.

Total price of the system was unavailable, but EMC did say the storage component would cost about $35,000 (£18,620).

"To get an all-online system," GE's McClennen said, "facilities can pay upward to the millions. With this new system, it's in the tens of thousands."

Dennis Barker writes for Health-IT World

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