by Brendon Nafziger
, DOTmed News Associate Editor | February 15, 2011
From the January/February issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
At the Radiological Society of North America’s annual meeting last November, there were two big trends in health IT: “cloud” and mobile-based solutions.
Almost every vendor flogging a health IT product had one in the “clouds” – that is, the data weren’t housed locally, but rather stored on a public or private server (the “cloud”) and usually accessed through the Web.
Why this jump to the clouds? And what role will mobile devices actually play in radiology? DOTmed News recently spoke with Robert Taylor, CEO of TeraRecon, a 12-year-old company that makes 3D advanced visualization software for MRI, PET and CT imaging, to get his thoughts on radiology’s top IT trends.
DMBN: At RSNA you showcased a cloud-based version of your 3D visualization suite, called iNtuition CLOUD. This year at the show, many vendors that do image processing, EHRs and RIS have moved many applications to public and private clouds – why?
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Robert Taylor: You’re definitely right. Many, many companies are talking about cloud, and at RSNA this year we saw a lot of usage of cloud marketing. But a lot of the companies were not understanding what the true nature of cloud computing is and what the true benefits are, and we actually had to do quite a bit of work to explain to attendees what this technology really means.
But the reason we went in this direction is a combination of a few things. I mean, first of all, the infrastructure is now in place to really deliver this kind of application, and ours is obviously a data-heavy, advanced visualization application that involves the upload of gigabytes of data to the cloud every day, and then real-time interaction back from the cloud to a physician’s desktop to actually use the tools.
Really, it hasn’t been that long that the Internet technology has been available to support that. Even though the backbone has been there and data centers have been there, the availability right through the physician’s desktop hasn’t been there. But the time has come where we can feasibly deploy something like this. And that aligns with our own technology road map as our company has always been a client server company.
TeraRecon disrupted the market back in the early part of the decade, by introducing client server 3D, the AquariusNET server, and that really changed the whole paradigm of advanced visualization away from workstations into a tool that was accessible from any computer in the hospital. So our architecture has always been well suited to this kind of model, and we took the leap to get the entire application running through the Web browser, which really meant a cloud-based offering started to make sense. So, I think from a technology point of a view and an infrastructure point of view, the timing was right.