IBM updates medical workstation, archiving software

IBM has updated its Medical Assessment Workstation, which now allows health-care providers to set up two monitors for viewing patient information such as digital images and records at the same time, and also has released a new version of its Medical Archive Solution for data storage.

Both product upgrades are available now, said Patrick Boyle, business unit executive for IBM Healthcare Solutions.

The workstation upgrade means it can support two high resolution monitors at once, enabling health-care providers to view, for instance, patient scans at the same time as laboratory or other data, which is particularly useful in "an operating room or emergency room, where those types of requirements are absolutely necessary," Boyle said. The workstation, which also is particularly aimed at radiology departments, is the "highest density, highest resolution, visual workstation available in the commercial health-care market," he said.

The Medical Assessment Workstation II costs between US$8,000 and US$14,000, including the displays, depending on the configuration.

The archive system now runs on both Linux and AIX. Previously it ran only on AIX. It also includes integration of IBM's DS storage product family, including models for midrange computing and digital imaging workgroups. So, the archive system now integrates the DS4000, DS6000 and DS8000 storage models. The upgrade further has features that improve storage utilization, data migration and disaster recovery, Boyle said.

U.S. regulatory requirements that govern how patient data must be stored and for particular lengths of time are driving the health-care storage market, Boyle said. At the same time that regulations call for more data to be kept for longer periods, overall more data is available, both from individual patients as well as from huge datasets for areas such as clinical genomics. That makes storage a particularly vexing issue for health-care providers and others in the medical industry tracking and keeping such information.

The Medical Archive Solution II takes that into account, he said. The product price range is broad, starting at about $50,000 and then increasing depending on how scalable a customer wants the product to be, he said.

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