Technology | December 28, 2011

LifeIMAGE Launches LINCS Image Sharing Network

December 28, 2011 — lifeIMAGE launched its LINCS service at RSNA 2011. The network is designed to improve patient care and reduce costs by allowing physicians to share medical images and associated information with each other, medical centers and patients. It eliminates information system and geographic barriers; this allows images to be shared everywhere, whether it's with the hospital down the street or a specialist on the other side of the world.

"Imaging is the second-most costly component of healthcare spending, right behind pharmaceuticals. Advancing image sharing technology will reduce healthcare costs and improve patient care, which is especially critical during this time of healthcare reform," said Hamid Tabatabaie, co-founder and CEO of lifeIMAGE.

An extension of the company's existing platform, LINCS allows physicians to connect and exchange imaging information with existing colleagues, as well as specialists they may never have met. A primary-care physician who needs to connect with an expert oncologist for a patient consult can use the system’s directory function to find and contact an appropriate connection. Once the contacted physician approves the connection, both can share and view images throughout the patient-care process – instead of relying on patients to shuttle images back and forth on CDs.

"We need to eliminate the CD problem," Tabatabaie said. "It's a terrible and pervasive issue.  When a patient brings a CD with images to a healthcare provider, the file often won't even open. It wastes time for the physician and the patient, and it's costly for the healthcare system and potentially harmful to the patient when redundant images have to be taken or multiple appointments made."

LINCS allows physicians and patients to quickly receive imaging and other medical records. It also provides a platform for these records to be seamlessly added to personal health records (PHRs) or institutional electronic medical record (EMR) systems.

Providers can easily and quickly access patients' test results, allowing for more accuracy and fewer tests; they can also use the network to share test results and clinical work with referring physicians or patients, who in turn can share the information as needed. Patients can then access their records as needed.     

Also at RSNA, Tabatabaie and David Mendelson, M.D. will discuss 'what's next' in medical image sharing. This includes the RSNA Image Share program, a secure, web-based image-sharing network that is being piloted at five academic institutions. The goal of the program is to improve coordination among providers, other healthcare professionals, software developers and vendors; this will, in turn, improve communication between physicians, healthcare systems and patients.

Image Share, which was launched by RSNA in 2009 with a grant from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), uses lifeIMAGE's services in several aspects. At this year's RSNA, lifeIMAGE will demonstrate an end-to-end set of services to enable image-sharing services across hospitals, physicians and patients. These services are run entirely on standards-based lifeIMAGE technology.

Also at the conference, lifeIMAGE will announce new relationships with several leading technology companies:

  • lifeIMAGE is demonstrating a technology integration with Vital Images, an advanced visualization and analysis software company. The integration will show Vital's U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-cleared universal viewer launching from LINCS. The two companies are also collaborating to provide on-demand access through LINCS to advanced visualization tools and comprehensive clinical solutions for cardiovascular, neurovascular and oncology imaging.
  • lifeIMAGE also has partnered with ClearCanvas, a provider of diagnostic imaging applications, including picture archival and communication systems (PACS) and workstations. ClearCanvas offers a free version of its diagnostic workstations in an open-source format, as well as an FDA-approved clinical version. The clinical version will connect the 15,000 members of the ClearCanvas community to lifeIMAGE.

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