Feature | Remote Viewing Systems | May 03, 2018 | By Jeff Zagoudis

Remote Viewing in the Cloud

This article originally was published as an introduction to the remote viewing systems comparison chart, and can be viewed here.

As healthcare systems continue to expand through consolidation and the amount of data generated by patients grows exponentially, so does the need to access that data from any location. Remote viewing systems are not a new concept in this landscape, as many picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) have built-in viewers or are accompanied by vendor neutral archives (VNA). But many of these solutions are still tied to the physical premises, limiting their utility outside the walls of the hospital — or even the department.

The advent of cloud computing technology has opened up new possibilities for remote image storage and viewing.

 

Greater Image Storage Capacity

One of the primary advantages of a cloud-based system is that the cloud greatly increases storage capacity. At the 2018 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference in March, Carestream celebrated that it now manages 26 million images through its Vue Cloud platform across 12 data centers worldwide. The company said its goal is to create a “cloud community” for medical image sharing. To date, Carestream said its larger customers have shown the greatest interest in storing and viewing images on the cloud. From the company’s perspective, cloud solutions are ideally suited for facilities of any size, as they offer predictable fees without a large initial capital investment or regular upgrades.

Sectra introduced the cloud as a feature of its PACS in 2015. Images are uploaded directly to the cloud from all modalities, and access is granted at any workstation through the web. The remote viewing cloud is hosted on a per-exam fee, and the viewer can be integrated to multiple VNAs or DICOM archives at the same time.

 

Streaming from the Cloud

The increased storage capacity of the cloud can be a boon for organizations with large datasets, but this advantage is negated if providers cannot quickly access the images they are looking for. One answer is to stream the files from the cloud to whatever device is being used to view the images. RamSoft’s PowerServer radiology information system (RIS)/PACS does this through its Remote Rendering feature, which it says dramatically reduces bandwidth while increasing image display speed. RapidResults, the zero-footprint clinical image and report viewer inside PowerServer, allows users to stream the images to any device, including smartphones, tablets and desktops.

 

Artificial Intelligence in the Cloud

Over the last few years, numerous efforts have explored potential applications for artificial intelligence (AI) in radiology. When used in a post-processing or viewing application, AI can help extract additional layers of data from the image not previously available to radiologists.

Texas-based AI Visualize integrated artificial intelligence with its new cloud-based image analysis and visualization platform, introduced at the 2017 Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) annual meeting last November. AI algorithms read the images to delineate diagnostically valuable information and delivers detailed 2-D/3-D renderings to any internet-enabled viewing device in real time. Fast image transmission is achieved through a process called predictive buffering, which eliminates internet bandwidth and latency limitations.

At HIMSS in March, Ambra Health announced a new partnership with Google Cloud. As a Google Cloud Technology Partner, Ambra will be able to offer its suite of imaging solutions through Google Cloud. In addition to streamlined image management for its customers, operating through Google Cloud will give providers access to larger data sets for more comprehensive analyses, and serve as a training tool for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning algorithms.

 

Interoperability in the Cloud

By operating an image viewer and/or archive in the cloud, multiple parties are able to view the images simultaneously at various locations, greatly improving care coordination capabilities.

One application where this may prove true is in breast imaging. Prior mammograms are essential to detect any change in the breast from year to year. However, 25 percent of screening patients and 60 percent of diagnostic patients do not have prior mammograms available at the time of their examination, according to Kathryn Pearson Peyton, M.D., breast imaging radiologist and founder of Mammosphere.1 Peyton believes one of the biggest reasons for this deficiency is a lack of interoperability between disparate information systems. “The good news is that a cloud-based model promises to enhance interoperability for patients entering the hospital or imaging center systems,” she said. “Using image sharing, medical records staff may easily procure needed prior comparisons as well as offer patients access to web-based applications for engagement in controlling their own imaging needs.”

 

Expanding the Cloud

While many cloud-based image storage and viewing systems are managed by the vendor, NucleusHealth recently introduced commercial licensing for its cloud platform-as-a-service (PaaS) that allows third parties to deliver medical images through their own tools and specialty workflows. This model, backed by Microsoft Azure, allows every person or department that needs to view images — from radiologists to surgeons to medical device manufacturers — to access them through their own applications or workflows, streamlining the process. Nucleus PaaS also allows users to build their own custom web-based imaging applications.

 

Reference

1.    Peyton, K.P. “How Interoperability Improves Mammography Outcomes,” www.itnonline.com. Jan. 2, 2018.

Related Content

The Candelis ImageGrid Plus PACS Server is an ultra-high-performance platform that can support high volume healthcare environments of 1,000 plus modalities
News | PACS | February 12, 2020
February 12, 2020 — The Candelis ImageGrid Plus...
Varian announced it has received FDA 510(k) clearance for its Ethos therapy, an Adaptive Intelligence solution. Ethos therapy is an artificial intelligence (AI)-driven holistic solution that provides an opportunity to transform cancer care.
News | Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) | February 11, 2020
February 11, 2020 — Varian announced it has received FDA 510(k) c
PaxeraHealth enterprise imaging, PACS, VNA solutions
News | Enterprise Imaging | February 11, 2020
February 11, 2020 — Enterprise Imaging developer PaxeraHealth
An example of artificial intelligence (AI) being developed by Hitachi to automatically review and identify nodules on lung CT scans. This is part of a suite of AI apps Hitachi is developing. This example was being shown as a work in progress at RSNA 2019.

An example of artificial intelligence (AI) being developed by Hitachi to automatically review and identify nodules on lung CT scans. This is part of a suite of AI apps Hitachi is developing. This example was being shown as a work in progress at RSNA 2019. Photo by Dave Fornell.

Feature | Artificial Intelligence | February 07, 2020 | Sanjay Parekh, Ph.D. 
February 7, 2020 – At the 2019 Radiological Society...
Infervision’s deep learning medical imaging platform is helping screen patients for the coronavirus in China. It acts as second pair of eyes to identify multiple diseases from one set of chest scans. The artificial intelligence (AI) can provide a complete view of the nodule, including volume and density.

Infervision’s deep learning medical imaging platform is helping screen patients for the coronavirus in China. It acts as second pair of eyes to identify multiple diseases from one set of chest scans. The artificial intelligence (AI) can provide a complete view of the nodule, including volume and density.

News | Artificial Intelligence | February 04, 2020
February 4, 2020 — Since January 2020, the...
Qynapse, a medical technology company, announced that it received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 510(k) clearance for its QyScore software
News | Information Technology | February 04, 2020
February 4, 2020 — Qynapse, a medical technology company, anno
While electronic medical record systems have helped consolidate most patient data into one location, medical imaging IT systems has proved to be more difficult to replicate by large EMR vendors. This has made room in the market for third-party radiology IT vendors that allow easy integration with the larger EMRs like Epic and Cerner. This image shows Agfa's enterprise imaging system, leveraging its ability to be accessed anywhere with internet connection and pull images from radiology and surgery.

While electronic medical record systems have helped consolidate most patient data into one location, medical imaging IT systems has proved to be more difficult to replicate by large EMR vendors. This has made room in the market for third-party radiology information system vendors that allow easy integration with the larger EMRs like Epic and Cerner. This image shows Agfa's enterprise imaging system, leveraging its ability to be accessed anywhere with an internet connection and able to pull in images from both radiology and surgery. 

Feature | Enterprise Imaging | February 02, 2020 | Steve Holloway
The growing influence and uptake of electronic medical records (EMRs) in healthcare has driven debate over the future

Cloud-scale storage architecture is key to orchestrating highly secure, reliable and accessible data systems using affordable, efficient and sustainable approaches.

Feature | Information Technology | February 01, 2020 | By Tyna Callahan
In healthcare, critical systems are being used to deliver vital information and services 24/7/365.