Wake Forest Heart Center First to Offer High-Speed Transfer of Cardiac Images

July 8, 2003

The Heart Center at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center is the first heart center in the region to offer high-speed computerized transfer of cardiac catheterization imaging among area hospitals.

The Encompass Cardiac Network by Heartlab, Inc., allows area cardiologists to send digital video images of cardiac catheterizations and other procedures directly to the Medical Center via computer so cardiologists and clinical staff can start preparing for the patient long before their arrival. Previously such information was delivered on CD-ROM—either by courier or often along with the patient as they were being transferred for care.

“For cardiologists at hospitals in our region, it’s like having an extra pair of eyes in the cardiac catheterization lab,” said Michael A. Kutcher, M.D. director of interventional cardiology at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. “We receive the images immediately, allowing us to communicate with our cardiology colleagues at area hospitals to determine the best strategy for the patient. This new technology breakthrough saves valuable time and improves the safety and effectiveness of patient care.”

In addition to providing immediate access to recent patient examinations and diagnostic tests, the program stores patient information in a film-less data archive. Information from past examinations can be retrieved in about 30 seconds.

“We can sit at any Encompass Review Station and see all new cases, as well as any case done in the past several years,” said radiology services engineer Scott Slater. Iredell Memorial Hospital and Healthcare System in Statesville was the first hospital in the region to go online with the Medical Center. The technology will soon be made available to other interested hospitals in the region.

The Medical Center’s five cardiac catheterization labs perform more than 4,000 cases a year. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks the Heart Center as one of the best in the nation.


For information, contact Jim Steele jsteele@wfubmc.edu, or Karen Richardson krchrdsn@wfubmc.edu, (336) 716-4587.

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