PACSCore and RIS Server

Connect Imaging uses Windows products for OS and database. For our server-based software, we use Windows Server 2008 or 2012, and we use SQL Server 2008 or 2012 for our database manager. For workstation-based software, we use Windows 7 for OS and SQL Server 2008 Express for database manager. Our software will run flawlessly on a virtual environment where a Windows OS is installed. Most software will also run on RDP sessions from a thin client to a server hosting the desktop sessions. For workstation authentication, we use Microsoft Active Directory.

Why it matters: Most IT people are familiar with Windows Server, Windows 7, and SQL Server, which means that your own IT department can easily learn how the Connect Imaging software functions because it all runs on Windows. Even if they don't actually provide support for the Connect Imaging PACS/RIS, having it all run on Windows makes their job easier for allocation of data center resources.

Many hospitals are migrating their servers to virtual machines to save costs and maintenance. A Connect Imaging PACS/RIS can be installed on virtual machines just like other systems the facility hosts, such as a laboratory system or EMR. The PACS can use part of a central SAN for image storage, with off-site backup of studies to the Connect data center for HIPAA compliance.

Independent imaging centers can install a Connect Imaging PACS/RIS on a server in their own server rack, or use cloud hosting services such as Amazon or Google to install and run their PACS/RIS from the cloud.

Yes! The Connect Imaging Dashboard web site offers remote monitoring of RIS and PACS workflow and operation. New modalities can be added to the authorized modality list, new recipients can be added for forwarded studies. The operation of all the back-office services is displayed in a live-updated status page, and services can be started or stopped remotely. Service logs can be displayed and searched when troubleshooting problems with image flow.

One page on the Dashboard site shows encounters that have too long a delay between workflow steps so technologists can investigate and find out what is happening with the encounter. Another page shows studies in the PACS matched against encounters in the RIS, so that studies without orders or encounters without images can be quickly identified. A third page shows the health of all server-based services, with realtime display of image queues that have grown too large. A fourth page shows the status of all studies sent by Distributor, and also allows studies to be requeued manually.

Why it matters: The PACS and RIS can sometimes seem like a black box to users. They send images in, but sometimes they don't seem to come out and no one knows why. A web site, accessible by anyone using the PAS or RIS, that provides real-time information on encounters and studies provides more transparency to users so they become more comfortable with the system and what to do when things seem to go wrong.

Modular design produces a RIS and PACS that are configurable, fast, reliable, and easy to upgrade. Each module is designed to do a specific task, which means it is fast and reliable. Upgrades are easy because only one module at a time is upgraded; all the other modules are unchanged.

By comparison, vendors that use large monolithic programs, with all functions built into one program, require more memory and computing resources just to run. An upgrade means everything is upgraded at once, and if you run into a problem you are out of luck until the vendor issues a patch.

Why it matters: The result of a modular design is a PACS/RIS with 100% uptime for most of our users because of the reliability of our individual modules. Our users have a PACS/RIS that supports the exact workflow they want because of our ability to add modules to perform specific tasks in support of their desired workflow.

Connect Imaging stores all studies in lossless compressed form, except those received in lossy compressed form, which are stored as received. Storing lossy compressed studies as lossless compressed makes the files bigger but does not improve image quality.

Why it matters: Studies stored using lossy compression lose information in the compression process. That’s why it’s called lossy. The only type of compression that retains all the data is lossless compression, which is akin to “zipping” a file. The FDA has specified the need for lossless compression for mammography studies; it requires manufacturers to use only lossless compression. At Connect Imaging, we believe that’s good advice to apply to all studies.

What about variable compression? We never use variable compression. By definition, that’s another name for lossy compression. The only way to increase the amount of compression is to reduce the quality level (for JPEG) or increase the compression ratio (for JPEG2000). Furthermore, as time goes by, vendors who do use variable compression increase the level of compression. In contrast, for lossless compression there is only one stage of compression, which remains the same over time.

Is the loss of information clinically relevant? This has never been tested in court. With PACS from Connect Imaging, you’ve covered that base. Think of it as good insurance.

HIPAA logging is required. However, it can be very difficult to research access to studies if you have to search through multiple logs maintained by servers and workstations. Connect Imaging has designed all its software to log HIPAA entries to a central database, making the HIPAA database a valuable resource for the facility compliance officer.

Why it matters: When all workstations and servers save their HIPAA log to a central database, radiology managers or compliance officers can easily search the database. Common search options include:

  • View all accesses to a particular study
  • View all activity at a particular workstation

You get immediate access to live support.

Trained technicians answer calls, identify the problem and solve it ASAP. When you become our customer, our personnel learn your name.

Are we simply bragging? Definitely not! We know our support accounts. We document each call. Development, support and management review call data at least weekly. Development does a quarterly detailed analysis of the source of, and reason(s) behind, each problem. Support tracks how long each problem took to fix. Currently, 90% of support calls are resolved within an hour. (Many of the remaining 10% were traced to problems that reside in the client's IT system or ISP connection. Those are beyond the scope of a technical support contract for any PACS vendor.)

Why it matters: People who call for technical support want help now. At times, they really need it. From our own experience with technical support, reaching a live person who is technically capable of fixing the problem now is the gold standard of support—and that's what we offer you.

Other PACS vendors try to save money by cutting corners in tech support. They offer tech support only by email. To access even that, you fill out required fields requesting information you may not be able to access in the middle of the night. Other companies have a clerk who assigns a ticket number, and promises that someone will call back soon. Others use voice-mail. All save the companies money—at the expense of your time.

At Connect Imaging, we assign a high value to your time and your PACS uptime. Shouldn't any PACS vendor who wants your business do the same?

You get the latest release of all software.

Why it matters: This means that when you have had a Connect Imaging PACS/RIS for five years, the software you will be using will be the same software that would be installed for a new PACS/RIS user.

Yes! Once purchased, ownership of a Connect Imaging PACS/RIS is transferred to the purchaser.

Why it matters: Some PACS/RIS vendors offer a low down payment, with a required monthly payment. Read the fine print carefully. What may appear to be a lease or a purchase financed over time may instead be a contract to purchase PACS services for a specified time. At the end of the period for which you have contracted, PACS/RIS services may continue at the same monthly rate, or may increase. Under this system, your PACS/RIS usage costs will never decrease.

In a true lease, ownership of the PACS/RIS is collateral for the lease. At the end of the leasing period, your facility will own the PACS/RIS. Monthly costs now drop to the prorated cost of whatever service contract option you have chosen.

Diagnostic Workstation and Viewers

Yes! Connect Imaging's ViewBox Advanced workstation automatically loads all relevant prior studies into the thumbnail list, and automatically hangs the studies according to the preset protocols. All preset protocols are saved using the DICOM Hanging Protocol standard.

All the patient's prior studies are listed by clicking on the patient folder icon. Additional studies can be retrieved from PACS by simply selecting the studies desired.

Reports for prior studies can be viewed by clicking on the report icon.

Why it matters: Viewing a prior study (or the prior study report) is one of the most used features of a diagnostic viewer. The feature should be accessible as easily as possible.

Yes! Connect Imaging's ViewBox workstation and ConnectWeb viewer allow you to cycle through a series of ultrasound cine clips and have them play automatically on display. Changing speed is just a matter of moving the mouse wheel.

Why it matters: Specialists like cardiologists are used to reviewing a study by playing the clips one right after the other, like they can do on their ultrasound machine. They do not want to have to click multiple times to select, then play the next clip in the study. Connect Imaging has designed all their viewers so that specialists can review their studies quickly and easily, like they are used to.

CT and MR studies are displayed according to a user-defined hanging protocol. Series in prior studies can be easily linked to the corresponding series in the current study, and the link is kept synchronized even if the two series were acquired with different slice thicknesses. ViewBox Advanced offers in-place MPR and MIP for single and double oblique reconstruction of a series.

Image manipulation tools and annotation tools (lines, measurements, ellipses, ROI measurements) are available with icon buttons for the occasional users, and many tools have keyboard shortcuts for the advanced user. Our goal is to allow the user to access tools with a minimum number of clicks and without taking his eyes off the image.

Why it matters: Those extra clicks not only decrease efficiency, they also increase chance of repetitive stress injury.

Yes! Our ViewBox Mammo option enables the standard diagnostic workstation to change its personality. Whenever a mammography study is displayed, it changes from a regular diagnostic viewer to a mammography diagnostic viewer—automatically.

Our ViewBox Mammo Advanced option goes one step further with Staged View protocol and support for displaying tomosynthesis images (when saved in DICOM format).

Why it matters: When a facility makes the change to digital only modalities, reading efficiency and workflow improve when the radiologist can read all studies on the same workstation. However, reading requirements for mammography are significantly different from other modalities. A specially designed viewer needs to be used for mammography to maintain the radiologist’s efficiency. However, the regular diagnostic viewer must be available for reading other modalities, or when another modality is being viewed in reference to a current mammography study.

Yes! Connect Imaging makes it simple to display another study on another panel to handle a STAT read–without disrupting the study currently being read.

Why it matters: Interrupting a study for an emergency read breaks the radiologist's train of thought. However, if the study currently being interpreted can be left undisturbed, getting back into the study is easier. The PACS should allow the current study to be suspended when another study needs to be seen for a STAT read. This allows the radiologist to resume reading with minimal disruption.

In addition to the ViewBox and ViewBox Advanced diagnostic workstations, Connect Imaging has two web-based viewers for remote viewing and referring physician access to studies

A full-featured ConnectWeb viewer with all the tools of ViewBox is available for radiologists doing night reads or other physicians wishing advanced tools. ConnectWeb runs as a plug-in on Internet Explorer (or IE plug-in with Chrome) and can display studies using either lossy or lossless compression.

A clientless ConnectView viewer is available as a link to the facility EMR or through the ConnectRISWeb referring physician portal for display of study images on any Chrome, IE, Firefox, or Safari browser on any Windows, Mac or Android computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Why it matters: The world is made up of many types of users. Connect Imaging provides ways to satisfy each group's individual needs with viewers matched to their preferences.

Quality Control and Error Correction

Unlike some PACS which update only the database to correct error in studies, Connect Imaging actually removes the study from PACS, makes the changes to all the DICOM headers, and sends the study back to PACS. Only users with admin rights can make these changes, and logging of all changes is made to the HIPAA database log.

Why it matters: If changes are not made to the actual images, then the integrity of the PACS is dependent on the database. If the database ever gets corrupted, then all changes are lost. By comparison, with a Connect Imaging PACS all the studies are final and correct without any dependence on the database. Should the database ever get corrupted (which has never happened), the studies need only be reprocessed to recreate the database.

Connect Imaging has created a QC Station that can be used to validate studies with the study orders, allow attaching of tech notes or other documents to the studies, and merge and split studies before the study is actually sent to PACS. The QC Station also automatically updates the workflow step of the encounter when it receives the study for validation and sends it to PACS after QC is complete.

QC Station also works with any other PACS system, for facilities that want the QC feature but do not have a Connect Imaging PACS/RIS.

Why it matters: Radiologists don't want to get studies in their worklist until the studies have been reviewed to make sure there are no corrections to be make and all documents are attached. By using QC Station, facilities can establish a workflow to QC all studies before they are sent to PACS (and then forwarded to the radiologists).

Contacts

Business Hours

  • Monday-Friday: 8am to 5pm
  • Saturday: Support calls only
  • Sunday: Support calls only

Who we are

Connect Imaging delivers modular PACS and RIS products. Our products are:

  • Fast
  • Easy to use
  • Reliable

Most of our DICOM modules will work with any DICOM compliant PACS, so we can provide our same fast, easy to use, and reliable programs to users with another vendor's PACS.