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FAQ - Intellispace Portal

Scibelli, Anthony, B.Eng. Philips Healthcare • USA

Intellispace Portal

Philips IntelliSpace Portal offers exceptional flexibility to diagnose and collaborate virtually anywhere. This thin-client application server solution allows simplified access for multimodality clinical review and analysis to enhance patient care.
What is a thin client solution?
A thin client is a computer that may also be part of a larger network, at a company or facility for example. Thin clients can be traditional PCs, wireless devices, or workstations with limited capabilities. The (thin client) computer contains enough information to start up and connect to a more powerful computer (server), and the server computer provides the rest of the computing and applications. A thin client solution usually contains several clients and server(s). IntelliSpace Portal is an enterprise-wide thin client solution offering advanced visualization software, 3D tools, multimodality analysis packages, and sophisticated collaboration tools to users.
Why is this becoming increasingly important in today's healthcare market?
Hospitals and healthcare facilities spend a great deal of money on workstations and computers to post-process their images. Computer technologies change quickly, with new computers hitting the market every few months. When a facility has multiple computers or workstations it can be chaotic knowing which one to use. Collaboration between the radiologist and a referring physician is also difficult in this scenario.
  1. There’s a growing demand for centralized data management – physicians and radiologists now read from multiple places; they may not even be at the same facility every day, yet they need the same tools to do their jobs effectively. Thin client solution is like a master computer (server) that runs multi-user versions of the applications the technologists, radiologists and physicians need. It’s then possible to have multiple users run the same applications simultaneously, without the need to change their physical location. 
  2. Referring physicians are becoming more demanding and increasingly want access to radiological images along with reports – including 3D renderings, real time. 
  3. Radiologists are expected to do more with less – read more images, interact with more physicians, etc.
Most hospitals now have PACS. Is IntelliSpace Portal like a PACS?
Typically, the PACS serves as the data source for 3D imaging datasets. IntelliSpace Portal complements PACS but is NOT a PACS or storage solution. With IntelliSpace Portal the images are sent from the MR/CT modalities to PACS. Having separate workstations for PACS and 3D/advanced visualization can complicate the workflow, distracting the clinician because they have to walk from one workstation to another, select the patient and exam again, perform 3D/advanced analysis, and then return to the PACS workstation. The beauty of IntelliSpace Portal is it can be integrated to any PACS equipping a single workstation with both 3D and PACS and can be accessed directly from the PACS workstation, considerably improving the workflow. IntelliSpace Portal features open interfaces for integration not only with Philips PACS, but also PACS from other vendors.
What happens to the data sets after the radiologist or technologist uses the applications software packages to manipulate them on IntelliSpace Portal?
In a centralized model, the original data (e.g., “thin-slices” in case of MDCT) only has to be sent to one location (thin client/Portal) and does not have to flood the PACS archive. Once the data is manipulated, the output, which is a much smaller dataset, can then be sent to PACS. The results are more than simple images, they are living, interactive evidence that is created, edited, and reviewed as it flows back and forth between technologist, radiologist, and referring physician over the course of a patient's medical treatment.
How does IntelliSpace change or affect the workflow in a radiology department?
IntelliSpace Portal allows the facility to rethink the workflow from a clinical perspective, rather than being caught in a medical assembly line from order to report.
  • After the images are acquired on the scanner, the images are sent to PACS and to IntelliSpace Portal.
  • The Portal’s “pre-processing” capabilities allows for automatic preprocessing for vascular CT, cardiac CT, and Virtual Colon. Not only are all heart structures automatically segmented, but all vessels are automatically labeled. This dramatically reduces the time the technologist spends working up these studies. That additional time can be spent on scanning more patients, providing rapid results, or spending more time with the patients and referring physicians.
  • With IntelliSpace Portal, the radiologist is back at the center of attention, allowing flexible simplified access to multimodality clinical review and analysis to enhance patient care and improve diagnostic confidence. It allows radiologists to realize the full potential of their scanners to quickly quantify and diagnose.
  • Once the case is worked up, the output, which is a much smaller dataset than the original data, can then be sent to PACS.
  • With IntelliSpace Portal, the result of the cases can be retrieved easily when the patient returns for follow-up. For instance, with the multimodality tumor tracking, the Portal will recognize the lesions that have been detected previously and work up the calculations from that point, showing how a tumor or lesion is progressing over time.
  • The radiologist has the ability to generate customizable reports within the different clinical packages to send to referring physicians. This can include graphs, tables, images, etc.
  • The referring physicians have access to the advanced clinical functionalities and collaboration tools. Neurosurgeons, oncologists, orthopedic surgeons, etc., are demanding access to these tools to improve clinical outcomes and reduce uncertainties.
  • Not only do the radiologist and referring physicians have access to the same tools, they can share a common desktop (Web Collaboration) whereby one of them invites the other to a “web meeting,”* and they can share control, annotations, and views from any laptop, PC, tablet, iPad®,*** or smartphone. They can now be confident in knowing they are looking at the same structure, within the same view, to make a more complete clinical diagnosis.
Thin clients have been around for a while now, so why are we making a big deal about Intellispace?
IntelliSpace Portal provides access to clinical functionality, workflow, and collaboration tools at any location connected to the enterprise through a single applications server integrated with PACS. It’s an integrated clinical solution that’s multispecialty, multimodality, and multivendor,** with rich clinical applications in CT, MR and PET/CT. It gives radiologists the tools to access, create, and disseminate actionable information throughout the enterprise through a secure, real-time, and collaborative platform, including Web Collaborator medical networking tools. The vision is that IntelliSpace Portal will be the one Philips platform for all modalities in the future.
Some companies offer “a web-based product” (also referred to as web server, web-based, etc.). Does IntelliSpace Portal offer that?
Portal is available through an Internet connection, but it is highly recommended that the customer use a VPN connection in order to encrypt any data transmission between the Portal Server and the requesting PC. In addition, IntelliSpace Portal Web Collaboration is a very powerful tool that allows a physician to send a web link to another peer or referring physician. That physician will be able to click on the link from any PC, tablet, or iPad*** and visually interact with the same data the other physician is viewing at the same time.
What is a “clientless” system and how does it compare to the Portal thin-client?
A clientless system is one way to refer to a “no-install” client or a “browser” based system. This generally means a viewer can run in a web browser without any software installation on the client PC. Portal is client-server based in order to assure there are virtually no limitations to advanced applications, filming and reporting.
What are the pros and cons of the clientless approach?
Anywhere access to data, tools and encryption are the typical advantages of a clientless approach. In a clientless install you have the ability to go to any PC, lance a web browser, hit a www address, and use an application without the need for a VPN. However, due to existing hardware, network, and software factors, the typical clientless products are more basic versions with less features than an installed application.
What is a browser-based volumetric viewer, i.e., AquariusNET web viewer?
This is a simple clientless viewing application with features similar to or more basic than that of the Philips CT Viewer. TeraRecon, Inc. and Vital Images, Inc. have viewers that are no-client install with limited functionality and targeted towards referring physicians. Applications like AVA bone removal, filming, and reporting are not possible over a web viewer alone. Portal is client-server based in order to assure there are virtually no limitations to advanced applications, filming and reporting.
What is meant by “Remote Access” – one user only via remote desktop?
Remote Access is a common IT term which refers to the ability of a computer to take control of another computer’s functions and capabilities. It is typically the simplest form of visualization that allows for a one-to-one relationship between the local and remote computer. For example, while at home a user can use a Remote Access application from their laptop to log on to their remote desktop PC in order to view information on the desktop.
Can you use Remote Access for CT Advanced Applications?
In the CT Advanced Applications area Remote Access was an inexpensive way to connect to an Advanced Applications Workstation (i.e., EBW) from anywhere. The issue with using Remote Access applications is that they typically are limited to one user at a time, so the solution cannot scale for an enterprise. True thin-client is the preferred mechanism to use CT viewing and clinical applications remotely.
How do you install Portal Client updates?
There are three ways to install a Portal Client:
  1. From a web server that runs on the Portal Server
  2. From a CD
  3. Using a push mechanism (Active Directory Group Policy to install many client PCs in one pass. This is similar to when Philips or a Facility IT pushes updates for MS Office® or Outlook® to employee work computers. It automatically happens when users log on to their computer. In other words, IT pushes it.)

* Required to be used within hospital network/VPN.

** Multivendor for CT and NM and basic MR. Some MR multivendor sequences may not be supported. 

*** Not for diagnostic use, only for image review.

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Apr 13, 2011

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IntelliSpace Portal
Body, Cardiac, Musculoskeletal, Neuro, Pediatric, Vascular

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