Testing the PACS of the Future


PACS of the Future Are Being Tested Now Successfully—Learn the Latest from the Medical Imaging Talk Blog.An exciting event took place recently at the Microsoft Testing Labs in Washington State — McKesson Radiology™ v12.0 was tested with a 5 million exam load. It ran for 240 hours with no degradation in performance, no memory leaks, no runaway CPU usage and no bottlenecks.

The experiment was designed to examine how next-generation imaging solutions might emerge to take healthcare to the next level. Some are calling these systems PACS 3.0, and they aim to take radiology beyond the enterprise level. The scalability test is detailed in a new white paper, “Scalability Testing of the PACS for the Future: McKesson Radiology at Microsoft Labs.”

Preparations for the test included tweaking a 15 million study record test database with 8.4 million patient records and populating it with more than 2 terabytes of image data. Teams from McKesson and Microsoft then worked together to design the test infrastructure, which included virtual machines running in the Microsoft lab that were configured to McKesson’s standard hardware specifications.

The test simulated 150 technologists and 390 radiologists concurrently accessing the system using four workflows. It began with 150 to 200 medical imaging studies of varying modalities being sent from virtual devices; this corresponds to approximately 60 GB/hr of image data being sent or approximately 5,000 inbound HL7 messages per hour being sent from virtual devices. The nearly 670 GB/hr of image data was being read and requested by the end users, and the studies were marked “reported.” Reports and scanned documents were then attached to the image data sets, and the studies were archived and retrieved.

Notably, Mike Tilkin, CIO of the American College of Radiology said late last year in the HealthIT Executive Forum e-newsletter that initiatives like the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources HL7 initiative and the CommonWell Health Alliance vendor group should be, “supported by technology vendors that validate real-life scenarios with practical test protocols that prove scalability and the ability to interoperate with the overall enterprise-wide imaging ecosystem.” Mission accomplished, it seems.

For more information about this project, please read the white paper, “Scalability Testing of the PACS for the Future: McKesson Radiology at Microsoft Labs.”

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