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Future-oriented software for better healthcare

10 Jun 2020
Open Cascade brings its expertise in 3D to medical industry

Since the introduction of computed tomography in the early 1970s, the medical imaging was drastically revolutionized, granting healthcare professionals with high quality visuals of human body interiors. Non-invasive, sensitive method empowered doctors to quickly detect anomalies invisible to human eye, enhance diagnostic precision what ended up in improved decision-making.

Technologies and medicine do not stand still: ever-evolving, together they go far beyond just visualization capacities, unleashing the full potential of digital imaging, and complement it by the most demanded technologies like 3D simulation, virtual and augmented reality, management of huge datasets, migration of data to cloud, artificial intelligence, etc. The time of one-function tools and applications has passed. Today software and hardware vendors, healthcare providers, medicines regulatory authorities are looking for intelligent end-to-end solutions covering the whole workflow and allowing to quickly and efficiently obtain, visualize, process, review any kind of medical imaging.

Open Cascade, a software development company with expertise in 3D, challenges healthcare segment and comes to the market fully-equipped to meet the most sophisticated medical industry demands. Blending its modern volume rendering technology, time-proven expertise in full-cycle management of 3D data and rich integration capabilities, the company establishes itself as a technological partner for medical organizations, software and hardware vendors. Starting from quick acquisition and viewing through detailed analysis and processing up to safe storage and archiving – Open Cascade can take care of every stage or even the whole process using its rich background and extensive experience in solution architecture.

Leveraging this knowledge the company can develop complex mission-critical software solutions intended to optimize and speed-up routine medical processes and to establish new intellectual assets, aggregating accumulated medical knowledges and expertise in a single data base.

Multi-vendor multimodality workstation

It appears natural, that every modality comes with built-in software to display scanned results and perform basic operations like rotation and zoom, measure distances, density, angles, etc. At the same time, it can happen in many modern clinics, especially big ones, that each department uses radiology equipment from different manufacturers. The analysis and reviewing of the imaging data in variety of different workstations is not an easy task, as every vendor- specific software has its own interface, toolset, etc. Moreover, it causes considerable inconveniences especially when it comes to situations when second opinions are critical, however doctors being in different locations need to analyze the same results.

In this case, an open unified system for handling, visualization and reviewing is the best choice. Open Cascade provides a DICOM-compliant volume rendering technology, which coupled with Visualization module (part of Open Cascade Commercial Platform) allows the company to develop customer-specific medical imaging workstation, enabling healthcare providers easily access data received from different sources on a desktop or a tablet and perform remote diagnostic. The company’s existing solutions stand out for speedy loading and processing of high volume 2D, 3D and 4D medical data and this is another benefit. Open Cascade rich expertise in advanced 3D algorithms can empower own-designed solutions or bring added value to radiology equipment manufacturers with extended measurement feature set, moreover such functionality as collaborative commenting, filtering or segmenting can be implemented. As an expert integrator and seasoned technological partner, the company has successfully accomplished many integration projects serving to establish software interoperability in automotive, shipbuilding, aerospace, energy industries, etc. Coming on cross-industry level, Open Cascade is able to connect medical workstations with other systems and equipment – PACS (Picture archiving and communication system), RIS (Radiology Information System), different modalities by implementing an Interim Processing Unit (IPU) - a proprietary technology for data integration through a universal cross-platform multi-connector based on Open Cascade Commercial Platform.

Masterfully converging visualization and integration technologies, Open Cascade is able to implement additional functional power such as algorithms, simulation, manipulation planning, transferring of doctors’ experience in silico, etc.

It is worth mentioning that such kind of vendor-independent solutions in other industries help many times reduce costs on IT, as the software can be installed on as many stations as needed, and the access can be provided throughout the whole enterprise network. In medicine they ensure much faster diagnosis what enhances patient care and converts in better decision-making.

In addition, Open Cascade’s flexible licensing approach brings considerable added-value for computed tomography manufacturers, allowing them to implement visualization software on their equipment with maximum economy.

Vendor-neutral archiving

With the vast propagation of various modalities (CT, MRI, X-ray, US, NM, etc.) and the fact that they have become more affordable, there has been a huge increment in medical data and it is continuously increasing day by day. Huge assets of medical imaging need to be stored and archived for further usage and retrieval for diagnosing process, study and research. The most common solution used by modern clinics is PACS.

However, PACS as healthcare-hosted system has exposed much vulnerability, showing that it falls short of increasing needs of today’s medical systems. Scalability and upgradeability issues, limited storage capacity, restricted accesses, data migration problems - the above is non-exhaustive list of compelling reasons for medical organizations to look for more scalable, flexible and modular solutions. The next step in PACS evolution is VNA (Vendor-neutral archiving) enriched by functional, algorithmic and analytic power. Solutions driven by Open Cascade development and integration expertise can ensure smooth switching from document-centric to automated system-centric workflows, what many modern medical organizations strive for.

In Open Cascade’s portfolio there are a number of industrial desktop, web and cloud solutions allowing working with extra-large 3D datasets with immediate stationary or remote access to huge assets. Moreover, Open Cascade knows very well how interoperability and software systems continuity matter for sound planning processes, in this regard the company always offers integration services and can seamlessly join several heterogeneous solutions from one or different vendors into customers’ eco-systems. The last but not the least, company’s deep knowledge of open international standards guarantees that the solutions delivered comply with all requirements to technologies it uses and services it provides. So, Open Cascade establishes automated digitalized workflows, where human intervention is reduced to a required minimum.

Given the above, Open Cascade’s extended integration and workflow solutions development expertise multiplied by capacity to view and process DICOM files let the company build customer-specific VNA solutions or bring added-value to existing ones and let them stand out for scalability, openness and wide set of functional units aggregated in IPU.

Granting much flexibility, Open Cascade is able to satisfy any end-users’ requirements. The data received from modalities can stay on premises or migrate to cloud. With the second model a remote enterprise-wide access can be provided to unlimited number of users via desktop, mobile or web, the system can be integrated with other records, such as the Electronic Health Record (EHR), Radiology Information System (RIS) and Hospital Information System (HIS). Cloud-based, vendor-neutral archive solution is the best value for money, as it costs less than on-premises model.

Comparing to other vendors of ready-to-use solutions, one of Open Cascade’s key advantages is its ultimate expertise in 3D and strong open source core what provides customers with maximum flexibility and independence. Upon request, solutions with open architecture can be provided, what allows further scalability and upgradeability if needed. Moreover, open source core can be an optimal model for healthcare organizations where long-term archiving and further retrieval of data is critical.

Being capable to deliver customized VNA or extend the capacities of other vendors’ solutions, the company helps medical staff eliminate IT difficulties during their work and focus on healthcare. 

Computer-assisted surgery algorithmic and visualization support

With an advanced portfolio designed to meet the most challenging clinical demands, Open Cascade therefore considers one of its strong sides – the capability to serve CAS (Computer-assisted surgery) helping with effective surgery planning. Combining medical imaging (3D reconstruction of a human body part) and CAD model of the prosthesis in one scene it is possible to perform virtual placement of dental implants or artificial joint prosthesis, considering specific peculiarities of each patient. 

Replacing real parts with artificial analogs is a very common practice, especially when it comes to dental implants. According to the American Academy for Implant Dentistryover 15 million people in the U.S. undergo bridge and crown replacements for missing teeth every year. The global dental implants market size was valued at USD 4.6 billion in 2019.

Rich expertise of Open Cascade in advanced simultaneous “living” and processing of any 3D data (CAD, mesh, point cloud, volume data) allows extrapolating the same technologies into medical world. The capacity to handle CAD and volume data in one scene, easily orient them and choose right projections, make accurate measurements on it, overlay both of them, assess exact relations and detect collisions, simulate movements and placements are critical for perfect alignment achievement and the success of the operation. Being capable to distribute such solutions where the company’s strong mathematical experience and expertise in exact calculations comes on cross industry level, Open Cascade brings added-value to both surgery and dental clinics, ensuring effective patient-specific 3D planning. 

With similar CAS solutions at hand, surgeons end up with reduced patient office time, surgical treatment time, and the higher degree of post-treatment recovery. All these factors directly influence the reputation of the clinic allowing attracting more clients what leads to increased business profitability. 

Conclusion

Even though there are strong players on the medical imaging market offering ready-to-use software or systems, the bulk of the demand still lays for customer-specific solutions. Indeed, every clinic or hospital has its own processes and workflows, extra-large or moderate amount of digital assets need to be aggregated on-premises or migrated to cloud, patient or disease specific information is to be classified and quickly accessed afterwards – all these tasks demand thorough customization. At this stage “solution developer + integrator” combination is win-win advantage, and right at this stage Open Cascade joins the competition, mature and fully-equipped.

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