Imagem entered the world of health by chance. However, this was in the continuity of the experience of the founders. The simulation of molten metal waves for Alcan and the simulation for the treatment of tumors have nothing in common but the principle of simulation, and the opportunity to seize.
Digitalisation of the simulator in radio-oncology
Getting ready the patient for radiation oncology treatments has enabled Imagem to understand the first important health information technology issue since the late 1990s: the need for an easy, transparent and non-invasive access to information.
The physician needed a simulator to prepare the patient for radiotherapy treatment. Radiation is destructive and must be targeted to cancer cells. He needs to see the organs in real time by radio-fluoroscopy: he then looks at the patient’s organs on a screen. Imagem’s project consisted of digitizing the images in real time to display them even when the radiation was interrupted.
The doctor did not want to change his ways. It meant to press a pedal to activate the radiation and thus to display an image of the organs on a screen. By digitizing the images, they could be displayed and improved by algorithms after the pedal was released. Previously, the screen would have displayed an empty screen.
Imagem has filled the need without changing anything to the physician’s habits. He now had access to information without maintaining radiation on the patient. The same pedal stroke was enough.
This project was delivered and was in operation without ever stopping for more than 5 years.
Radiation-Oncology Contour Generation System
In the simulator room, the medical physicist who made the calculations of the location of the tumor and the dose of radiation required needed exact measurements of the patient’s body.
Imagem built a device to scan the patient’s outlines in three dimensions at the height of the tumor thanks to an arm similar to that of a robot. The data collected were then processed to be sent to the physicist’s computational software. Through this project, we have been involved and sensitized to the major responsibilities that health care providers have when they care for patients, as well as to the advanced safety measures to protect them. We discovered the second issue: the safety and the responsibility of the health care field.
This project was delivered to two radiation-oncology centers and served for more than 5 years without fail.
Digital diagnostic imaging
From the very beginning, Imagem was interested in the emerging digital imaging in health, although at the time digital devices were not common in Quebec and in the rest of Canada. The engineers of the company saw the future with them and that is why the first work was undertaken.
From the outset, we left a legacy of rigor and integrity since we made clear the need to integrate existing patient data. That is what we call today ‘interoperability’. The company also handled the digitization of radiological films to give radiologists a complete record with previous reviews on film. So the first recipients of its facilities were the archivists who had access to digitized data.
Imagem installed the first fully integrated teleradiology system in 2001, which the radiologist used as if he had been in the hospital. Emergency physicians could listen to the radiologist’s vocal report very quickly, often even before the patient came out of the examination room: an enormous gain in quality in the care.
We have figured as precursors in the development of image storage methods using hard disks and multiple copies for redundancy. Thus, the images became much more accessible in the preparation of the files. Over the last twenty years, digital diagnostic imaging has become the very heart of our expertise.
Interview : delivering vision
1. PACS V.1 Negative X (1995)
First PACS viewer, it processed the images from digitizers Howtek, Cobrascan, Vidar and more. We developed our expertise in diagnostic imaging and our knowledge of our clients’ field of interest.
2. PACS V.2 Imapacs (2000)
Dicom PACS Imapacs v.2, Imadiag viewer, Imaview viewer, Imaris SIR, dictation included, with Playdiag transcription, installation with the digitization of previous films, and storage on hard disks, innovation at the time. The installation used SunRay thin clients and a Citrix application server. Interfaces with other software and radiology devices became a specialty for us.
Imagem begins its research and collaboration with universities, UQAC in particular, and ETS.
Interview with its 8 software was born. Delivered and functional in two hospitals for 10 years.
3. PACS V.3 Imapacs (2010)
Dicom PACS Server Imapacs v.3, viewer Gemini, Imaview viewer, SIR Imaris v.2, Psvox dictation and PSscript transcription, installation with the digitization of previous films and storage on hard disks.
Delivered and functional in two hospitals for 7 years.
Postscriptum: medical report, dictation, transcription and speech recognition
The radiologist had to record their dictation on a tape microphone. Imagem offered a more effective tool, thus realizing its first dictation and medical transcription system. The physicians could listen immediately to the radiologist’s voice report about their patient. This system was integrated and reserved for radiology.
The Postscriptum suite combines 20 software packages. It is functioning in more than 40 health care facilities right now.
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