Philips and NEC ink digital pathology agreement

This is an area I have tremendous interest in so I would like to share this news update with you folks;

Royal Philips Electronics and NEC have signed an agreement to jointly develop and market integrated digital pathology technology.

Based on Philips’ pathology slide scanner and NEC’s e-Pathologist Cancer Diagnosis Assistance System, the digital pathology technology will use digital techniques to add quantitative analysis to the qualitative information derived from the visual inspection of pathology slides. They will initially be targeted to assist in the grading of breast cancer and prostate cancer, Philips shared.

Philips, based in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, employs continuous auto-focus technology in its slide scanner that follows height variations in the tissue surface over horizontal distances as short as 30 microns, allowing high-definition full-slide images to be captured in under one minute per slide.

Tokyo, Japan-based NEC’s e-Pathologist system will use machine intelligence to detect tissue and cell features within these images in order to identify regions of interest and make quantitative measurements of structures in conventionally-stained tissue samples, or samples stained with immunohistochemistry reagents. These quantitative measurements could assist pathologists in making decisions relating to the clinical treatment of cancer in individual patients, the companies explained.

NEC jointly evaluated e-Pathologist with SRL, a laboratory test center in Japan, for biopsy of stomach cancer, and has also started marketing a system focused on stomach and breast cancer. In addition, NEC evaluated its e-Pathologist system with Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Philips digital pathology system features an open architecture that allows partners to expand the system’s capability by integrating their own hardware or software algorithms.

Philips and NEC aim to produce initial development results from their joint development in digital pathology this year.


Ramblings: Another Book Reviewer for the VNA eBook

Good news folks,

Dr. LEE Peng Hui, a Consultant Radiologist from Broomfield Hospital, UK and frequent contributor to the Royal College of Radiologist’s PACS & TeleRadiology Group has kindly took up the role of a review for my second book – “Vendor Neutral Architecture & How it will change the World (of Health Informatics)”.

Dr. Lee’s kind offer has also served as a reminder that I should get back to writing the book!



It’s RIS/PACS Integration Over Functionality in new KLAS Report

A recent study by KLAS shows that RIS/PACS Integration is more important than functionality.

I have not read the actual report but based on the article I found online, the researcher for this study does not understand medical imaging informatics because RIS/PACS integration is a functionality.

To be bolder, RIS/PACS integration is a given! a must! a norm!

The reason? It is supposed to work as an entity, how can it not work as one?

If you didn’t understand the sentence  above, then you do not understand medical imaging workflow but don’t worry, seems like the guys at KLAS didn’t either.

In the world of RIS/PACS, conventional wisdom often touts functionality over integration. But, according to a new report from KLAS, conventional wisdom is wrong.

The report, “Ambulatory RIS/PACS: Integrating Provider Needs,” KLAS researchers spoke to over 500 provider facilities about their RIS and PACS vendors. The upshot: providers are looking for vendors that offer not only functionality, but also smooth integration between a RIS and PACS, and to achieve integration, some providers are willing to sacrifice functionality.

Of the more than 20 vendors highlighted in the report, CoActiv, DR Systems, and Infinitt offer the perks of tight integration, including easy maintenance, consistent look and feel of the PACS and RIS, and even lower cost. CoActiv scored top in the PACS segment and Infinitt moved up seven spaces to take the number two spot. The researchers also found that those vendors that offer RIS and PACS on separate databases have more difficulty with integration—and, thus, a tougher time winning over customers. Agfa was the most vulnerable PACS vendor and GE the most vulnerable RIS vendor. Fuji, however, was able to buck this trend—scoring as the second place RIS and third place PACS vendor—with customers reporting that its separate databases perform similarly to a single-database system.

(Source: Press Release)

Toshiba Medical to buy Vital Images for $273M

Source :

Vital Images Inc. said late Wednesday it would be sold to its biggest customer Toshiba Medical Systems Corp. in a deal worth nearly $273 million.

Toshiba said it would pay $18.75 per share for the Minneapolis-based medical imaging software developer, a 39 percent premium over the company’s volume-weighted average for the past month, Toshiba said.

The deal, approved by the boards of both companies, is expected to close in the third quarter.

Tokyo-based Toshiba and Vital Images have a relationship that stretches back nearly a decade. Toshiba distributes Vital Images’ software in nearly 50 countries. And Vital Images developed, in partnership with Toshiba, SUREPlaque coronary plaque characterization software for CT scanners.

“This transaction will allow TMSC to significantly strengthen its Imaging Solutions business by integrating our technologies to meet the global demand for advanced visualization and imaging informatics provided to healthcare professionals and through healthcare IT providers,” Satoshi Tsunakawa, the CEO of Toshiba Medical, said in prepared remarks.

EMRs can yield data for genetic research

I got this article off CMIO, my personal thoughts was that the author went a long way to say that a co0related patient records (not in silo) is useful.

Extracting patient data that already exists in EMRs could expedite the process of collecting data for genetic studies, according to “Electronic Medical Records for Genetic Research: Results of the eMERGE Consortium,” a study published in Science Translational Medicine.

In the study, Abel Kho, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at Chicago’s Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and colleagues investigated whether patients’ EMR data captured through routine care could identify disease phenotypes with sufficient positive and negative predictive values for use in genome-wide association studies.

The researchers extracted patient information in EMRs from routine doctors’ visits at five institutions that belong to the Electronic Medical Records and Genomics Network (eMERGE) Consortium. Each organization used different EMR software, according to the authors, yet all EMRs provided information that allowed researchers to accurately identify patients with five kinds of diseases or health conditions: cardiac conduction, cataracts, dementia, peripheral arterial disease and type 2 diabetes.

The five institutions that participated in the study collected genetic samples for research. Patients agreed to the use of their records for studies, according to Northwestern.

“Using data from five different sets of EMRs, we have identified five disease phenotypes with positive predictive values of 73 to 98 percent and negative predictive values of 98 to 100 percent,” wrote Kho and colleagues.

“Most EMRs captured key information (diagnoses, medications, laboratory tests) used to define phenotypes in a structured format. We identified natural language processing as an important tool to improve case identification rates,” stated the authors. “Efforts and incentives to increase the implementation of interoperable EMRs will markedly improve the availability of clinical data for genomics research.”

The research was supported by the National Human Genome Research Institute with additional funding from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, Northwestern stated.

Ramblings: So a VNA is ‘just an archive’?

I meetup with a few ex-colleagues yesternight and in short, it was a good catch-up.

So what does this have to do with health informatics?

Well, among the numerous discussions that took place, there was one particular conversation on what exactly a VNA is.
(for the official record, the company that I work for in my day job provides health IT solutions and the key offering is a ‘VNA’)

A  friend  from Company A  said something like “a VNA is just an archive, its just storage, thats why they call it vendor neutral archive”.

This would sound logical to many people, especially those who are not familiar with medical imaging informatics but what surprised me was, this guy works for Company A which claims to also offers a VNA.

Now not all VNA are made the same (its just like Cloud Computing, not all Cloud Computing technology are made the same), some VNA are just archives (like Company A’s offering) but some VNA are more than archives, you see, the technology, along with commercial offerings has progressed to a whole new level.

VNA is now also term as Vendor Neutral Architecture and for those who have heard my educational talks, archiving is the easiest part, getting them distributed to the right place, at the right time, in the right format and in a timely fashion (among other things) is what makes the difference.

It was kind of  sad that my friend does not truly understand what a VNA (especially since he makes a living in this segment) but I feel even sadder for people who actually bought VNA technology from their company.

The good news, I am spurred by this incident to try and find the time to resume on my next book –   “Vendor Neutral Architecture  & How it will change the World (of Health Informatics)” so more can be educated on what a VNA really is.

Details of the book project can be found here

Ramblings: Executive Certificate in Health Informatics

I think it is no major secret to all of you folks that I have been playing the role of an academian (in the area of health informatics) for quite awhile. In fact, that was the  main motivation for me in getting the doctorate – so  I can teach at institutes of higher learning.

While my role in academia has been more of curriculum development, adjunct faculty / lecturer and thesis supervisor, I had always offer my expertise / services under the branding of other institutes.

In some instances, I devised the core body of knowledge, curriculum framework, lecture notes, textbook, the actual delivery (including lectures and lab ) but the final certificate (e.g. a diploma) is awarded by another institute of higher learning.

Now I am not saying that the scenario above is bad or negative in any nature but there are challenges, like inability to update the curriculum as and when deem necessary and being tied down to a determined delivery schedule.

Now in addition to institute of higher learning, I also provide corporate training (all in my free time) for research institutes and companies wanting to learn about health informatics (e.g. medical device companies, system integrators, consulting firms and even health informatics solution providers).

So what is this post about?

well it is my pleasure to share with you folks that I have recently developed and delivered the Executive Certificate in Health Informatics, under the binaryHealthCare ‘brandname’.

To be precise, the certificate program was delivered yesterday for an audience of about 14 participants from two healthcare IT solution providers (they are actually quite reputable in the sub-segment they operate) and the informal feedback so far (I have not received the formal feedback) has been pretty good.

So what’s next? Well an Executive Certificate in Imaging Informatics as well as one in Vendor Neutral Architecture is in the works. Plans to  offer  these programs online is also being developed.

The best part?

Well binryHealthCare is a social enterprise that strive to improve healthcare (and saving lives) through advocating the importance of Health IT as an enabler for “better patient care at lower cost” by raising the standards of health informatics through training, continuing education and providing a vendor neutral community / hub to enable knowledge exchange and collaboration so one can expect the courses to be relatively affordable.

So stay tune for more updates and if you are interested in contributing to this educational initiative – drop me an email 🙂

Siemens launches non-DICOM image sharing system in U.K.

I got this article off CMIO, from the description, it sounds like an enterprise archive.

I wonder if Siemens  will release a VNA soon…

Siemens Healthcare has released syngo.share, a unified, patient-centric clinical image sharing system in the U.K.

syngo.share enables hospitals to manage and share clinical imaging data, including many non-DICOM formats, across specialties such as radiology, endoscopy, pathology and dermatology. The clinical image sharing system features a universal viewer to help clinicians manage a variety of clinical imaging data and provides access to imaging data in one location, connecting departmental archives and multiple locations, Siemens said.

The system features a modular and scalable architecture that allows customers to pick from departmental and enterprise-wide options, up to regional sharing deployments, providing an IHE-XDS- and XDS-I-compliant repository. Its multimedia archive capabilities support multiple data formats, including JPEG, avi or PDF.

Ramblings: So whats going on?

March 2011 can easily be described as one of the busiest month for me in 2011, then again, the year is far from coming to an end.

I guess I own it to you folks to explain my inactivity during March so allow me to briefly summarize what took place;

  • 1st March. HL7 Singapore ExCo meeting
  • 2-5th March, participation at Singapore General Hospital’s  Nuclear Medicine Update 2011
  • 8-15th March, in Taipei (Taiwan), visited NTU, NTNU, NTUH etc (love the food in Taipei)
  • from the 16-21st, I helped sort out some internal financial issues for HL7 Singapore (I am the treasurer) as well as the organisation of the HL7 Singapore Recruitment Event to be held on the 8th April (I am the Chair of the sub-committee organizing the event)
  • 21-24th April, in Jakarta (Indonesia) , visited lots of hospitals under the auspice of the Singapore Embassy
  • In addition, on the 24th April, I presented at the IBM Indonesia Healthcare segment sharing session
  • 25th April, I presented at the Wireless Healthcare Asia summit in Singapore (so its 2 presentation in 2 days, 2 countries)
  • 27 Mar – 1st April, in Bangkok (Thailand), performing workflow analysis & re-engineering as well as infrastructure redesign
  • On the 31 Mar while in Bangkok, I participated telephone interview by Straits Times (the article / interview was in the national papers on the 4th April)

On top of the above activities,  I have a day job (where I devote most of my time as the  responsibilities spans across ASEAN) , education and family (trying to compensate in this area now) commitments.

So it has been a busy busy month for me, I am now trying to clear all my work, catchup on assignments (and many more stuff for binaryHealthCare as I have left it hanging for most of the month).

All in a months work eh, and April doesn’t look any easier.

CSC to acquire iSOFT’s global operations

I guess this piece of news has been going around for a while but here goes anyway.

CSC has signed an agreement to acquire all of the outstanding equity of advanced applications provider iSOFT Group. The offer to iSOFT shareholders is 0.17 Australian dollars per share in cash.

CSC provides system design and integration, IT and business process outsourcing, management consulting and other services. The company employs approximately 93,000 worldwide and reported revenue of $16.2 billion for the 12 months ending Dec. 31, 2010. The acquisition will strengthen CSC’s healthcare integration and services portfolio, and enhance its healthcare research and development capabilities, the Falls Church, Va., company stated. CSC added that the move will also accelerate its strategic growth plan in the life sciences market.

iSOFT, with headquarters in Sydney, employs 3,300 employees globally. Its e-health software is used by more than 13,000 healthcare providers, 8,000 hospitals, clinics and governments in 40 countries to manage patient information, iSOFT stated.

Closing of the transaction is expected during CSC’s second quarter of fiscal year 2012, subject to various conditions. These include, among others, iSOFT shareholder approval and certain Australian and European Union regulatory approvals, according to CSC.

Perella Weinberg Partners is acting as financial advisor to CSC and Jones Day is acting as legal advisor to CSC.