Fuji promotes RACS as alternative to PACS – Fuji Medical Systems U.S.A. Inc. Electronic Imaging and Equipment Group

Fuji promotes RACS as alternative to PACS – Fuji Medical Systems U.S.A. Inc. Electronic Imaging and Equipment Group – radiology acquisition and communication systems, picture archiving communication systems

The Electronic Imaging & Equipment Group of Fuji Medical Systems U.S.A. Inc., Stamford, Conn., is marketing a new approach to electronic image acquisition called RACS–radiology acquisition and communication systems. The company claims this is an affordable alternative to picture archiving communication systems (PACS).

At the Radiological Society of North America meeting, the company introduced a line of computed radiography systems that can transmit and store computed radiography images throughout the hospital or hospital department.

“Most hospitals will not be PACS-ready in the near future,” said Dave Armstrong, director of Fuji’s EIEG group. “RACS offers the many advantages of digital technology without hospitals committing to the expense of PACS, which is still in its infancy.”

The EIEG’s 20-person sales force, backed up by more than 100 salespeople from Fuji Medical who sell X-ray film, are marketing RACS to hospitals and imaging centers.

“Early on, we were targeting medium to large hospitals because of the systems’ price,” Armstrong said. “As we evolved, imaging centers began looking at the efficacy of these systems.” A health care facility can spend anywhere from $2 million to $3 million on RACS, he noted.

The radiology administrator is the final decision maker for the purchase of a computed radiography system, but he or she needs the approval from the radiologist or referring physician, who rates the system by its image quality, according to Armstrong.

The first step in the RACS acquisition, according to Fuji, involves the purchase of a basic computed radiography system that can transmit images and provide hardcopy output. This can be accomplished by purchasing a Fuji AC-1 or its updated version, AC-1 Plus.

The AC-1 Plus is a compact stand-alone unit designed for areas where space is at a premium, such as intensive care units, emergency rooms and operating rooms. It has hardcopy output capability on site and/or can signal to remote locations for viewing on high resolution Fuji CRT monitors.

The image plates contained in the AC-1 and AC-1 Plus are erased internally and can be reused thousands of times, according to Fuji.

“Hospitals will buy a basic system for $250,000 and then buy one or more pieces as needed and tie the pieces together electronically,” Armstrong said. “We’ve had hospitals buy one unit or nine or 10.” After the hospital buys a basic system, he said, it may want to expand its computed radiography capabilities by purchasing an FCR 7501 chest unit, for example.

Images can be viewed and manipulated at Fuji workstations that are placed throughout the hospital. These images, in turn, can be sent to a Fuji CRLP 414 laser imager or back to a AC-1 Plus stand-alone image reader to make hard copies for diagnosis and archiving. These images also may be archived on a Fuji laser optical disk filing system.

The EIEG exhibits RACS at the annual RSNA and meeting of the American Hospital Radiology Administrators. Advertisements on RACS can be seen in almost all the radiology journals, Armstrong said.

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