At the opposite end of the spectrum is pathology, where it's all about the image. The challenge is that each of these formats does have its own related non-visual multimedia, ranging from text to waveforms to numerically analyzed specimens.
Bringing pathology into the digital age presents a particular challenge to healthcare. At one extreme are "frozen sections" whose display and analysis may need to be provided remotely while a patient is awaiting surgery for removal of a tumor. There, time is of the essence.
At the other extreme are untapped researching resources such as the Joint Pathology Center, which holds a repository of 60 million glass slides. "It's a tremendous data store that no one has access to," says Mark J. Newburger, CEO and president of Apollo, which provides enterprise patient multimedia PACS to hospitals ranging from Henry Ford Health System to the University of Illinois.
Newburger, an industry veteran, says the future is turning today's proprietary data stores and imaging systems into a set of device drivers, much like platforms such as Windows and OS X provide. Apollo built such an imaging platform in collaboration with The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, and even made it possible for clinicians there to build their own such drivers to connect with other image stores.