Merge Healthcare is rolling out Cedara WebAccess, which enables medical professionals and patients to view digital medical images via any Web browser on any Web-enabled device, such as laptops to smartphones, including the Apple iPod. Merge built Cedara WebAccess with the help of tools IBM Rational acquired when it bought Telelogic this year for $745 million.
Health care professionals for years
have been pushing for more efficient, cost-effective and environmentally
friendly ways to access their medical images.
The days of paper reports and film
are slowly giving way to new computer-based digital imaging capabilities. However,
most of these processes require systems especially made for receiving the
images-ranging from X-rays to CT scans to MRIs-or computers with the capability
of handling large downloads.
The result can be systems that are
expensive to buy and maintain, with the patient data being kept on computers being
handled by doctors and nurses, said Peter Bascom, vice president of engineering
at Merge Healthcare
, a company that specializes in medical imaging software and
services. It also drives up the need for greater computer storage capacity.
Merge has come out with a solution
designed to offer medical professionals an efficient and fast way of accessing
the digital medical images while increasing the security around the data. The
company in November rolled out Cedara WebAccess, a Web-based solution that lets
doctors and nurses view medical images from any device that has Internet access
and a Web browser.
It's also done in a thin-client environment:
The medical image is housed on a secure, back-end server-either at the client's
site or hosted by Merge-and secured through the Internet device, whether it's a
PC, laptop or Web-enabled PDA, which Bascom
said makes the setup more secure and easier to manage. It also eliminates the
need to rapidly grow storage capacity.
"Using any browser-we let you use
[Google's] Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, Firefox-you can access the image,"
he said. "There's no install [of any software] necessary on the client machine.
All you need is an account on the server. ... The underlying theme is being able to
gain access to the images anywhere."
Merge announced Cedara WebAccess
Nov. 25, then showed it off the week of Dec. 1 at the Radiological Society of
North America conference in Chicago.
The move came a few weeks after
Merge introduced Merge Mobile for the iPhone, an application that lets medical
professionals and patients view digital medical images on their Apple iPhone
iPod Touch. Cedara WebAccess expands that capability to all Web-enabled devices,
including PDAs that compete with the iPhone.