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Philips introduces SmartExam: automated planning, scanning, processing

Clinical News
MRI NetForum Team Philips Healthcare Philips Global

At RSNA 2005, Philips introduces customers to the next breakthrough in MR: automation of the entire MR examination - featuring automatic planning, scanning and processing, greatly assisting the system operator. ExamCards are complete, standardized - yet customizable - examinations that start at a single touch and can be exchanged among users. A Philips-exclusive technology, SmartExam uses sophisticated anatomy recognition and localization software to plan the MR study. Then, integral ExamCard software automatically carries out the study and finishes processing the image data. MR workflow automation with SmartExam standardizes planning and scanning strategies for all patients, according to the customer's own conventions and preferences, providing a reproducible process that is perfect for any department.

New SmartExam to radically automate MR workflow

The sophistication of MR software has arrived at the control room, where Philips customers will soon be able to take another big step forward in easing the tasks of the clinical staff. Philips' new SmartExam, introduced at RSNA, will extend ExamCards with automated planning, scanning and processing, providing a consistent methodology for examining every patient that is reproducible and efficient. SmartExam is developed for new Intera, Achieva and Panorama 1.0T systems.

"SmartExam will neutralize inter-operator variability in MR scanning," says Winfried Willinek, M.D., radiologist at the University of Bonn, Germany. "Automating the MR scan with intelligent software and our existing ExamCards - ready-to-use, pre-set protocols - will ultimately shorten examination time and streamline the entire MR department workflow."


Sites that are conducting and comparing similar studies also benefit with SmartExam, as the study geometries for enrolled patients are inviolable, while the on-line NetForum Community enables sharing of ExamCards among Philips users.

Automated planning tool learns from experience

SmartExam accomplishes its planning task by learning from the technologist, who has previously performed planning in a certain way. SmartExam's anatomy recognition algorithm extracts the soft tissue features from each data set and uses these features to localize the anatomy with respect to position, orientation and size. The tool is self-adjusting - when corrections are made it will learn what the user wants and apply it in subsequent examinations. In this way, the algorithm learns how to plan. During an actual scan, SmartExam conducts a 3D SmartScout survey and uses it as the basis for planning - including detection of relevant landmarks and positioning of scan volumes.

Scan-in-Scan shortens total body examination times

For enhancing workflow in MobiScan total-body examinations, ExamCards offer the Philips Scan-in-Scan functionality, which enables simultaneous acquisition of multiple-contrast scans (e.g. T1-weighted, T2-weighted and STIR) in a single in/out pass of the patient table. Scan-in-Scan saves a significant amount of time and is more comfortable for the patient.

Automated scanning and processing with ExamCards

Philips' ExamCards are an integral component of SmartExam. An ExamCard automatically initiates a complete sequence-by-sequence exam once the operator indicates START SCAN and also defines patient-specific parameters, such as FOV, number of slices and heart rate. SmartExam also ensures that adjustments in geometric or patient-dependent parameters will not lead to changes in key scan parameters such as TR, TE so that original image resolution and contrast will remain the same. This feature results in a 95% reduction in the need for parameter adjustments.


An ExamCard can be programmed to automatically send the image data to the processing station or PACS after scan completion, and then initiate image processing.


"With SmartExam, Philips can claim to offer the world's first scanners possessing the intelligence to drive a complete clinical examination automatically," says Renate Blömer, Lead technologist at the University of Bonn, Germany. "We expect SmartExam will help us achieve more consistent, reproducible results and a more efficient department."


Philips protects your investment


Most of the new features, including SmartExam, are available as part of an upgrade for all Philips MR systems installed since 1994.

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Nov 28, 2005

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