3D PACS Come to the Forefront

2011-11-17
 

3D PACS, PACS, picture archiving and communication systemThe day of two-dimensional PACS isn’t quite over, but it soon will be. Three-dimensional PACS are rapidly becoming the norm in medical imaging centers throughout the country.

And for good reason.

Despite the exponential growth of processing and storage capability over the past decade, the PACS products available during that time generally did not keep pace with CT improvements that enabled radiologists to take images of ever-thinner sections of the body.

Viewing the sophisticated 3D images that resulted from advanced CT required computing power that only a few computers in a radiology center had. Moreover, some PACS programs often made storing such images impossible. 3D images had to be viewed in 2D, or time had to be spent reconstructing the original 3D image from the information in the PACS. Needless to say, such a setup was not very efficient.

Now, however, PACS programs have caught up with CT technology, and “advanced visualization” PACS enable radiologists and other medical imaging professionals access to 3D images at many (if not all) workstations at a radiology center – and sometimes, given the growth of teleradiology, in radiologists’ homes.

Speed is still an issue for many 3D PACS. The problem is generally solved by running the PACS on a large server which workstations can connect to. In such a setup, the speed of the PACS does not depend on the workstation computer. In general, the only thing that slows a 3D PACS down is multiple users trying to use the program at the same time.

What’s next for the medial imaging community? No doubt, PACS that can handle ever-more sophisticated images and image manipulation. Some have already enabled radiologists to line up images taken at different times. And then, 4D PACS, which will be able to store and manage the “videos” made by assembling CT scans over time.

McKesson offers the Variable Thickness Regional Intensity Protocol (VTRIP) medical imaging solution which allows faster case reading times, scan to read times, and potentially, increased scanner utilization all without the need to launch an external 3D viewer for these common tasks.

To learn more about PACS, check out McKesson’s PACS website and stay tuned for updates on this blog.

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