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June 28, 1990


By CBR Staff Writer

IBM is collaborating with the University of Washington’s medical and engineering faculties to produce scientific applications for its RS/6000 workstations – part of the push to postion the RS/6000 as a scientific workstation. A prototype medical imaging system is being developed which will link three medical imaging stations, two based on the RS/6000 and the other on the PS/2, into a hospital-based network. All three will draw images from a hospital-wide database. IBM is giving the university $4.5m in cash and kind, to cover hardware, software, faculty grants, student fellowships, and a full-time IBM co-ordinator. The partnership will last three years and focus on radiological imaging – building application specific enhancements to the workstation and design new communications and applications software. The hospital computer system will hold digitised versions of standard hospital X-ray films and ultrasound images, as well as computer-aided tomography and magnetic resonance imaging scans. Using the PS/2 station with 80860 Wizard card, doctors will be able to call up images from computers around the hospital – from a patient’s bedside to the operating theatre. The station will also be used to network images to remote medical centres for consultation or diagnosis. The second station, based on the RS/6000, will display several images simultaneously. Developers will write software to enable the workstation to perform routine evaluation of the medical images. The third station, also based on the RS/6000, will be used for medical imaging research, software for analytical applications will be written. All three stations will display video as well as still images, and will store the doctors’ oral and written data. Along with developing the imaging system, developers will also create prototype medical imaging software for two other applications, radiation therapy planning and biomedical image reconstruction. Radiation therapy software will enable surgeons to evaluate three-dimensional pictures of tumours and calculate the exact doses and angles of radiation therapy on-screen. Biomedical image reconstruction software will enable doctors to simulate delicate operations on-screen, and view results before treating the patient. The software will also enable medical students to study anatomy on the computer, by peeling away various body structures.

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