Siemens launched the latest version of its 3D imaging software, known as syngo.via, at the Radiology Society of North America annual congress last week.

The company also launched a syngo.via WebViewer, enabling radiologists and other physicians to perform diagnostic reading on the iPad. Both products should be available globally next year.

The 2013 version of syngo.via (VA20) consists of imaging software for routine and advanced reading of images from magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography, computed and digital radiography, positron emission tomography, and PET/CT devices.

Siemens says it should improve diagnostic accuracy whilst maintaining efficient workflow. “More than the basic information, it includes lots of quantitative data which is added into the patient report and is an aid treatment decisions,” said Marc Lauterbach, director of global product marketing for syngo.via software.

In support of its efficiency claims, Siemens has carried out a study with six customers in Germany, Austria and Spain to compare the system with a conventional Advanced Visualisation workstation.

The research observed average time savings for CT Cardiac of 77% in comparison to other reading solutions, while oncology diagnosis with PET/CT experienced a 45% time saving.

These time efficiencies are due to the pre-processing conducted by syngo.via. “Effectively, when the image arrives within the syngo.via system, it automatically conducts certain steps before the radiologist has done a mouse single click,” Lauterbach said.

The idea that 3D imaging software, which generates a more complex image than 2D imaging, can produce time savings might seem counterintuitive.

However, Lauterbach provided examples of situations in which 3D bone reading in which this is the case.

For example, he cited a situation in oncology where radiologists need to examine the ribs for metastases. In this situation, syngo.via takes CT images of the chest and spreads the ribcage into a fishbone pattern, laid out in one plane.

The software bypasses the need for the radiologist to input complicated and time-consuming details relating to the ribs.

Lauterbach added that syngo.via also attaches the correct labels to the ribs and this information is then automatically entered into the report.

Version three of syngo.via also offers optional applications to suit other specific requirements. It features an application to review mammograms and an application known as MR Vascular Analysis for quantifying vascular findings such as the length or constriction of a blood vessel with stenosis.

Alongside the syngo.via (VA20), Siemens also launched its mobile Web Viewer, which makes the 3D images available on ipads and iphones. “It’s a very useful tool to look at images wherever radiologist is, as long as the user has an Internet connection,” said Lauterbach.

The WebViewer will support new modality images including PET-CT in addition to MR and digital radiographs, and will support diagnostic imaging.

Siemens also presented an entry-level solution for 3D routine and advanced reading at RSNA, known as syngo.via Element.

Based on the latest version of syngo.via, it includes applications specifically designed for reading CT studies, for example in neurology and oncology.

It was designed to meet the needs of specialised practices and community hospitals, which often require particular 3D software applications but do not need the full suite of syngo.via.