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BridgeHead, IBM launch medical archiving upgrades

BridgeHead Software folds a DICOM server, HL7 interface and Web access into a new version of its PACStore medical archiving application, while IBM and McKesson upgrade their medical archiving products.

BridgeHead Software Ltd. has a new version of its PACStore medical data archiving software that expands its integration with the DICOM standard to centralize medical archive repositories among disparate PACS.

The new version of PACStore will also allow image information to be updated using the Healthcare Level 7 (HL7) standard interface and will offer Web-based access to PACS images.

BridgeHead CEO Tony Cotterill said that his company plans to focus its products entirely on medical data archiving from now on. The company is shifting its product line, renaming what it announced in May as PACStore to FileStore for PACS and launching an updated product as PACStore.

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The new PACStore product integrates a DICOM server and an HL7 interface. DICOM and HL7 are standards used in medicine to facilitate the transfer of medical information among systems. Cotterill said that PACS usually contain their own DICOM server that they use to write to primary disk. The new PACStore will fold that layer into its archive so the nearline and archive data storage for PACS will no longer depend upon on the DICOM server within a proprietary PACS application.

"Having a central archive, separate from the PACS applications, is critical because it allows the data to be managed and accessed in one place," said Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Brian Babineau. "You can get better resource utilization that way, [and it's] easy to securely share the content. The argument is very similar to that of direct attached storage versus networked storage."

Cotterill said that shifting to a centralized DICOM server within the BridgeHead application will allow PACS from multiple vendors to share the same single archive repository for data and eliminate the need for data migrations from one proprietary archiving system to another if the PACS itself is replaced.

The HL7 interface allows metadata on a particular record to be updated to reflect new information about the patient -- for example, noting a name change on an exiting file. The DICOM interface from the central repository can also make that data available to hospital information systems used to track patient and treatment records. Physicians will be able to access the PACS archive through a Web interface without going through a PACS.

BridgeHead will sell FileStore for PACS for customers who want to keep the DICOM server inside the PACS application. "There are use cases for both," Cotterill said. "In a compliance or audit scenario, data can be pulled out of FileSstore for PACS, similar to an email archiving system."

IBM, McKesson update medical archiving products

BridgeHead is not the only vendor giving medical archiving attention this week. IBM, which rebrands Bycast's StorageGRID software as its Grid Medical Archive Solution, released GMAS 2.1 based on StorageGRID 8 that came out last month. The upgrade includes a clustered NAS gateway that boosts performance and allows GMAS to handle transactional, as well as archive data.

PACS vendor McKesson said it will integrate its Horizon Medical Imaging product with Iron Mountain's Digital Record Center for Medical Images, a joint venture with Bycast and Hewlett-Packard that was announced in February.

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