Is Agfa Getting SoHard?

You may recall that I reported in November, 2005, with much levity that Mercury Computer Systems purchased a German company known for 3D visualization called Sohard. Today, one of my friends from RadRounds informed me of an interesting development. It seems that right around RSNA time, Agfa signed up with Visage Imaging, a subsidiary of Mercury, to provide the Visage CS Thin Client/Server “for supplying enterprise-wide advanced visualization solutions to customers worldwide.” Funny how that never got mentioned at the Agfa booth at RSNA! The press release is dated November 26, 2007, and RSNA ran from November 25th through the 30th. I can’t directly connect the family tree of Visage to Sohard, but I suspect there has been some adoption of the latter’s technology under the badge of the former. Perhaps “Sohard PACS” wouldn’t have been a winner in this country for various reasons. Oh well.

According to the press release,


Agfa HealthCare will integrate the Visage™ CS Thin Client/Server into its IMPAX™ product line in order to provide enterprise-wide advanced visualization capabilities based on 3D thin-client technology. This integrated solution ensures that large image data volumes can reside entirely on the central server, and interactive 3D and 4D viewing and post-processing can be performed from any client computer using an innovative thin-client streaming technology. Because of the tight integration of IMPAX and Visage CS, large 3D and 4D images become instantly accessible at the click of a mouse within the PACS workflow, throughout the entire healthcare enterprise.

Sounds pretty good so far. the Visage website has this to say about the CS product:

Visage CS is blazingly fast and easy-to-use software for 3D-based image interpretation, post-processing, and image distribution. Data from virtually all modalities can be viewed and processed, including CT, MR, PET, PET-CT, SPECT, and SPECT-CT. Visage CS allows virtually “instant” access to all data anytime, anywhere inside or outside the hospital or imaging center walls, on standard PCs and even laptop machines*. Visage CS is designed to manage even the largest data volumes smoothly and efficiently. For example, the initial 3D display of a 2,000 slice series takes less than three seconds, regardless of the PC or workstation where it is viewed**.

Visage CS is a “plug and play” solution. You may use it as a standalone system, integrate it into an existing PACS workflow, or obtain a completely integrated solution consisting of Visage PACS and Visage CS.

* Although the thin client software allows users to review image data on standard PCs and laptops, the equipment used for diagnostic image interpretation must meet the legal requirements of the respective country.
** Example value based on actual performance measurements. Performance may vary depending on the actual load and concurrent traffic on the Visage CS server.

Gotta love the disclaimers. But how well (and easily) does it work? I haven’t a clue. Our hospitals do need to get some sort of enterprise/thin client system for cardiac studies, and I need to piggyback PET/CT remote reading on this solution. My grandiose plan is to invite key vendors for a “shootout” to see just how well their thin (and thick) clients work in our production environment. I guess I’ll be adding Visage CS to the list. More to come.

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One response to “Is Agfa Getting SoHard?

  1. Until the middle of last year, our PACS was from a German company called Radin, re-packaged or resold by Ferrania as Lifeweb.(Remember 3M and Imation? They were bought by Ferrania.)Radin was owned by SoHard. I was told that the Siemens PACS was also from Radin.Peng

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