Deploying State-of-the-Art Imaging Solutions to Meet Needs throughout the Enterprise
Advanced visualization has become an essential technology not only in radiology but across the enterprise. While radiology is the hub of 3D operations, users across the enterprise need to access and view 3D reconstructions. Critical users include surgeons, orthopedic specialists and cardiologists.
As sites plan to implement or upgrade their advanced visualization applications, it is essential to select a solution that will meet current and future needs across the enterprise. What will the typical hospital require in terms of advanced visualization tools?
The typical current 64-slice CT scanner generates 2,500 to 3,500 images. Although a dataset of this size was nearly unimaginable a few years ago, it’s clear that size will continue to grow. Some current systems produce as many as 5,000 images, and future scanners will bring even larger datasets. Datasets size can strain conventional workstations.
MR imaging is equally complex, and radiologists require a helping hand to assist with post-processing of images for studies such as MR angiography and spectroscopy.
The evolution in modality imaging parallels the latest technical developments in 3D post-processing and PACS. Traditional 3D is a significant boon to radiology, driving isotropic imaging with identical resolution among all three image planes. Early 3D solutions, however, posed some challenges. Specifically, most 3D processing engines and display solutions functioned as standalone systems outside of PACS. Realizing the need for higher productivity and efficient workflow, several PACS vendors have integrated with third-party 3D systems in an attempt to unite PACS and 3D.
A complete solution
GE Healthcare offers a unique model to wed the clinically rich 3D post-processing applications and PACS. The company develops and provides a comprehensive imaging portfolio ranging across modalities, which includes Centricity PACS and the Advantage Workstation (AW) 3D post-processing and visualization applications. The company offers a truly integrated 2D/3D model.
Indeed, GE solutions are affecting and improving clinical practice. Take CT angiography. The advent of clinically reliable cardiac CT and CT angiography has garnered its fair share of the imaging spotlight in the last two years. “[But] CT angiography has been around since the early 1990s; multi-slice CT has helped CT angiography reach its potential,” begins Lawrence Tanenbaum, MD, section chief MRI, CT and neuroradiology for New Jersey Neuroscience Institute in Edison, N.J. However, true clinical utility of CT angiography hinges not only on the CT scanner but also on the advanced visualization workstation. “The capabilities of GE’s AW have been critical in bringing CT angiography into routine clinical practice,” continues Tanenbaum. The multi-modality AW delivers clinically effective 2D, 3D, and 4D post processing solutions to help handle the increasing diagnostic and worklow needs of today’s imaging departments. AW incorporates 64-bit technology, which overcomes processing limitations and provides a solid platform to help healthcare manage the tidal wave of imaging datasets.
Late in 2006, GE launched Centricity AW Suite 2.0, integrating core elements of AW with Centricity PACS. The new solution provides full context sharing across the PACS worklist and 3D post-processing engine and visualization display system. The GE model offers a common worklist for standard 2D PACS studies and 3D post-processed datasets in a single patient folder. Centricity AW Suite 2.0 addresses critical, and often conflicting, enterprise concerns.
For starters, the solution streamlines workflow. The single platform natively unites 2D and 3D clinical tools and workflow, enabling radiologists to smoothly transition from 2D interpretation to 3D review and access and compare prior studies and reports.
Anatomy of 3D software
Centricity AW Suite 2.0 transforms the Centricity PACS workstation into a fully muscled reading and post-processing solution to aid interpretation of the mega datasets generated by state-of-the-art CT, MR, and PET scanners.
The solution serves as the foundation for next-generation PACS/3D image review. GE complements the Centricity PACS with AW Suite 2.0 Volume Viewer Plus software. The software provides comprehensive 3D processing tools for CT, MR, PET and PET/CT datasets. Volume Viewer enables analysis, segmentation, measurements, annotation and exporting of clinically relevant images. Another key requirement for the next generation of advanced visualization solutions is the ability to deploy the solution across care areas. Volume Viewer is integrated with GE’s Centricity PACS workstation and offers a comprehensive array of diagnostic tools for CT, PET, MR, X-ray, vascular, mammography and other modalities. In addition, Volume Viewer serves as the building block for optional advanced Centricity AW Suite 2.0 packages including Advanced Lung Analysis, Advanced Vessel Analysis, AutoBone, CardIQ and CT Colonography.
In addition, Centricity AW Suite 2.0 offers shared licenses, which allows multiple users to access its advanced applications. This month, Health Imaging & IT visits with several global pioneers who have combined GE’s Centricity AW Suite 2.0, Volume Viewer and optional, specialized software to learn about the benefits of the new paradigm in 3D imaging: native 2D PACS and 3D processing.