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ScImage Unites The VA...and validates Dalai's idea

Posted Oct 23 2008 1:33pm

I have made a number of disparaging comments about ScImage over the years, based on my very unsatisfactory experience with their older products. I have agreed to bury the hatchet, given a very eloquent post on a rather unusual AuntMinnie thread by Rob Tinker, ScI's National Operations Manager:

.....Of course, Dr. Dalai, I encourage you to continue to broadcast your valued opinions to the professionals that browse Aunt Minnie’s forums but we would ask that instead of continuously bashing ScImage based on your experience with a 3 or 4 year old product, come take a look at what we are doing today, so that you will at least be providing an opinion that is relevant. I would welcome the opportunity to speak with you regarding all this, at your convenience of course.

That nicely closed a rather contentious series of posts, and set the tone for a truce if not a total reconciliation. (I still don't know who started the nasty thread, by the way, but in the end, the true nature of several AM regulars became quite clear, and that is satisfaction in and of itself.)

I remain on ScImage's e-mail list, and today I received this notice:

Los Altos, CA – March 12, 2007 – ScImage, an award winning enterprise imaging and information management company, based in Los Altos, California, announced today that the Veteran’s Health Administration (VHA) has awarded ScImage the contract for the VHA’s nationwide teleradiology program serving more than 150 Veteran’s Health Administration Medical Centers.


The ScImage solution will be deployed as a web layer on top of disparate PACS at various facilities to route exams along with prior images and reports based on dynamic business rules and will be used exclusively in the VHA’s Teleradiology Center to provide a virtual reading environment for reading radiologists and/or radiology groups. Deploying the solution in this manner will enable the VHA to surmount the shortage of qualified staff in certain geographies and provide faster turnaround. The result will be a more unified and consistent collaborative reading workflow that VHA program directors can watch and manage very closely from anywhere.


At its core, PicomEnterprise boasts one database and a shared infrastructure that simplifies workflow for multiple facilities. The solution features several time saving and innovative clinical applications for TelePACS over broadband infrastructure. “ScImage is proud to be a part of such an important project. Providing the VHA with a unified approach to medical image and information management will lead to improved clinical workflow, patient care and a lower total cost of ownership,” stated ScImage Founder and CEO, Sai P. Raya, Ph.D.


Overall, ScImage will provide an extremely comprehensive solution that is ideal for the VHA’s objective of a centralized workflow model that will enable them to have full 24x7 coverage across the United States. ScImage’s solution will be placed in VHA datacenters to provide a virtual reading environment for radiologists from anywhere while administrators can monitor reading progress, exam volumes and workflow efficiencies.


That would probably explain why this blog received so many hits from VA headquarters in DC in recent months. I would, of course wonder what other companies were competing for this contract, but in the end, that is unimportant. What is critical is what ScImage will do for the VA: unite its "disparate PACS" systems into one enterprise. Now my idea was to unite regional centers' PACS systems to accommodate the " portable patient", which in the end is similar to what ScI will accomplish. There are, of course, rather significant differences. The VA is a more homogeneous group of hospitals than even the handful in my neighborhood. They are all under the same umbrella and administration, and their patients generally migrate only within the system. Thus, what the VA (or VHA...I'm of the old school) is doing is not only desireable, but really is mandatory given their circumstance and organization. But the lesson to the rest of the health care system is quite obvious. Here we have on a national scale a project validating the idea that small hospitals won't consider.

Obviously the technology exists to connect one PACS to another, and let me see Mrs. Jones' CT from St. Elsewhere done 48 hours ago. The only thing preventing this from happening is petty hospital and IT politics, and I do mean petty. But, don't worry, when Hillary is elected, we'll have some sort of National Health Care system, and no doubt the order to connect will come from Washington itself. That might be the only good to come of it, but....

Congratulations to ScImage. This is a big one for you guys.
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