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3D Imaging Tool Sets

December 4, 2007
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Imaging volumes are growing and exam sizes are increasing.

64 Slice CT

scanners can produce exams with thousands of slices. Installing a high volume imaging modality usually includes a network upgrade or configuration change to handle the increased imaging traffic. Along with an increase in network bandwidth, Multi-slice CT, PET/CT Fusion and MRI among other imaging modalities require advanced 3D rendering and viewing tools. These tools can be incorporated into radiology workflow by using a 3rd party 3D Workstation or a PACS workstation with integrated 3D capabilities.

The important thing is to implement these tools at the most efficient point in your imaging workflow. A separate 3rd party workstation may require a technologist to render the 3D data sets according to the Radiologist protocol; this will take valuable time away from patient scanning. Licensing integrated 3D functionality in the PACS workstation will allow the radiologist to perform 3D post processing and manipulations but must be fast and easy to use or this will waste valuable reading time. A third option is to contract the 3D imaging service from the PACS vendor or a local hospital that offers 3D imaging services. This option is new and financially feasible if your workflow and results turn-a-round time can afford it.

3D Imaging Tool Sets are different depending on the views and functionality desired by the reader. Independent 3D workstations usually have more powerful tools capable of advanced 3D rendering and representation. PACS integrated 3D tool sets are sometimes less robust providing only basic MIP and MPR functionality. Regardless of your workflow, the steady increase in the number of images per exam will require the use of 3D imaging tools and processes. 3D post-processing of large image sets is an effective and efficient way to manage the large number of images being produced by today’s multi-image modalities.

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Comments

Thanks Joe!!

Integration of PACS and digital imaging devices has come a long way but we still have a long way to go. Hopefully open source tools like Mirth will ease technical guesswork and integration difficulties. This would allow more time to be spent on assessing integration points for add-ons and 3rd party equipment to improve workflow. Tools like Mirth are a must have when integrating multiple systems or devices and the fact that it's free makes it very attractive!!

Enjoyed this posting. I have been doing integration work in healthcare IT for the last 11 years and am just starting to see digital image integration being considered in the the "big picture" integration scheme. FYI, I recently viewed the web demo of an open source integration engine (www.mirthproject.org) which incorporates an open source DICOM viewer.

Keep up the good work,
Joe