Jan 6, 2009

Agfa Impax Demo a Hit

The PACS market in South Africa is growing quite steadily, and we should see a lot more practices go digital in the near future. My exposure to enterprise level PACS software is limited to be honest. I have worked with Conquest as well as ClearCanvas, the latter being a very promising open source project. Read more on PACSWorld.

Our practice recently got Agfa's Impax 6.3.1 PACS server on demo for a month. We are still on analog equipment for the most part. I was hooked from day one. The configurability is mindblowing, the interface easy to use and the administration is a piece of pie!Some of the features I like:

  • A specific user's settings will "follow" that user on a per modality basis. In other words, if I change my toolsets for MRI's today at a specific workstation, those exact settings will apply on any other workstation I log into
  • Drag and drop tool configurations
  • User and group manager is very intuitive and extensive
  • The toolset available to radiologists and referring physicians is huge
  • Security includes LDAP (Active Directory) account mapping
  • Image streaming is pretty efficient

I will add some more items to this list as I go along


Marc Bernard said...

Glad to hear you like IMPAX. We're working on lots more good stuff for 6.4 and 6.5 (both in development right now).

g said...

thanks for the comment Marc, thats very good to know. any chance you can share some of these new features?

Marc Bernard said...

6.3.1 has lots of performance and reliability changes in it, as well as some neat embedded speech recognition, for use with the Agfa RIS.

6.4 has lots of CT/MR enhancements.

6.5 has workflow improvements, especially for remote users.

I'm probably not supposed to give a lot more detail than that. :)

g said...

haha thanks man!i figured out that we actually are running 6.3.1
the new developments sound very promising, especially the workflow improvements for remote users.

its not everyday that you get to chat to a developer directly so I have to milk this while a can... :)

one more question,i havent played with the RIS yet, only saw it in a presentation. I found the interface a little overwhelming, i think some of our users may find it hard to adapt to. has there been any drive towards an interface resembling the PACS side?

Marc Bernard said...

I found the RIS a little overwhelming the first time I saw it too. :)

The RIS is developed in Gent, Belgium, so I'm a little out of the loop as far as what the plans are for newer versions.

The PACS and RIS were originally developed by two separate companies, using different programming languages, so that's the reason the look and feel is so different. I do know that Agfa would like to blend them better, which we've started to do in 6.3.1, with the embedded speech recognition. It's a slice of the RIS right inside the PACS client.

I would expect the look and feel to get a lot closer in the future.

Dalai said...

You might want to have a look at other products, too. The more GUI's you (or your radiologists) experiment with, the more you will know what works for you.

g said...

thanks for the advice doc.
we are currently busy with a lengthy review process, with more vendors to follow in the near future.
exciting times...!

Peter said...

We are also running a full blown 6.3.1 SU9 installation with integrated Agfa RIS 5.5.1 and speech.

If the system works, it works fairly well and the workflow is okay for our radiologists.

But at this moment it is running badly. Random workstation crashes, problems with speech, application server problems, corrupted radiologist profiles.

At this moment Agfa Europe is working hard to give us the answers to all these problems

If you want to run Impax Pacs standalone, it runs well. Beware for the complete integration, then things can get tricky.

g said...

mmmm not very good news... we visited a practice last week thats busy with their implementation. things seemed ok there for now.

thanks for the heads up peter, will you let me know what the Agfa guys come up with?

Vinh said...

Impax 6.3.1:

Terrible integration with Talk. Talk is now integrated with the color monitor, cluttering the screen. You have to move the cursor onto the talk monitor itself in order to type (simple issue, but very annoying throughout the day). We upgraded from Impax 5 about two months ago, and it has been a total nightmare system wide. Machines crash about 2-3 times each day, especially with a long worklist. Besides stability, loading times are very long. Maybe Peter is correct in suggesting the stand alone product is better, but the integrated product with Talk is not working for us. Someone also had the great idea to change all of the icons on the new version. I've talked to a few other individuals at major institutions here in the US and they also have major issues with Afga as well. Everyone is working here to deal with the ongoing problems, but it does get old. We're almost to the point of considering a request to change PACS vendors. I'm typing this as I'm rebooting PACS from the other machine. I seriously hope things will get sorted out soon.