Workstations: New Tools Solve Image Viewing Overload
Ease of use, more applications and faster, faster, faster is the battle cry of doctors and administrators needing an overhaul on their workstations - and RSNA brought a variety of enhancements to fulfill all needs. Multi-modality breast imaging workstations proved popular this year, no longer tethering a digital mammography system and workstation exclusively with one vendor. Several new breast imaging workstations debuted with plenty of new software for x-ray, MR and ultrasound images. And whether you call it a workstation or workspace, new functionalities focused on stellar images, workflow and productivity abound.

(Note: companies appear in alphabetical order.)

Fujifilm Medical Systems USA at RSNA introduced the Synapse Multi-modality Breast Imaging Workstation. It is designed for any facility performing full field digital mammography (FFDM) and other modalities such as breast MR or ultrasound. It provides the functionality of Synapse PACS to add consistency and efficiency to the interpretation of breast imaging studies, Fuji said. 

The workstation configuration uses FDA-cleared display technology which permits the diagnostic display, analysis and interpretation of any FFDM exam, along with related multi-modality exams. It can be used as a full-featured diagnostic workstation for any imaging exam. It incorporates dual, high-brightness, 5 megapixel flat-panel monitors for softcopy diagnosis with an optional third, 20-inch color LCD monitor for productivity applications and viewing of color images. It combines a Windows desktop user interface with Synapse's advanced diagnostic tools. Features include: pre-sets, window/level, pan, zoom, annotation and magnification, and Fuji's patent-pending Reading Protocol technology, which automates the presentation of a information contained within Synapse, including documents and image processing parameters and results. Further, with the Synapse PowerJacket, users can access any image, report, or note for a given patient, all with a click of the mouse.

Fuji said added advantages will come when it can be coupled with the currently works-in-progress Fuji CR for Mammography (FCRm). Then it can be used by the reading radiologist to communicate, via notes or audio clips, with the technologist at the FCRm IIP technologist console.  This communication can take place within a single facility or even between separate sites. It will enable the technologist to use Synapse on the IIP FCRm console to access and view prior images and results to assure the diagnostic purpose of the current exam.

GE Healthcare showcased its new Centricity AW (Advantage Workstation) Suite as an "Advantage Workstation with the benefits of PACS."

Centricity AW fuses modality and PACS technologies and incorporates advanced tools (advanced analysis, post processing and 3D), allowing users to acquire, manage, store, review, analyze and report on information from a single workstation. Centricity modules include results review, CPOE, flowsheets with monitor capture, progress notes and census boards that combine to create a filmless, wireless and predominantly paperless care environment for a faster, more comprehensive information flow. There is virtually no limit to the images the workstation can manage, even outside of radiology to cardiology, podiatry and pathology.
Centricity AW works with the new Centricity PACS SE. Similar to the Centricity PACS Enterprise Edition, Centricity PACS SE utilizes powerful imaging applications, including Centricity RA 1000 radiology application, Centricity AW Suite for visualization for large data sets of PET/CT, CT, MR and XR, and Centricity Enterprise Web for image and information distribution.

Centricity AW is pending 510(k) clearance for mammography primary reading applications.

Hologic, Inc. showcased at RSNA its SecureViewDX multi-modality workstation, which gained FDA clearance in August, as well as sharing its "vision" for workstations of the future.

Hologic's SecurViewDX is a dedicated, multi-modality workstation for display and interpretation of any screening or diagnostic digital mammogram, as well as other modalities such as MRI, CT, PET and ultrasound. The workstation also supports digital computer-aided detection (CAD) programs.

What distinguishes the workstation, Hologic said, is the ability to view digital mammograms from any vendor, as well as images from other modalities. This will boost workflow for imaging centers since physician no longer have to view images from different vendor's systems on vendor-specific workstations. Physicians also can use Hologic's package of image manipulation tools on virtually any digital mammogram.

Hologic's "workstation of the future" provides multi-modality image viewing, the ability to show cine loop or static tomosynthesis images, offers a touch screen with color monitor and easy graphical user interface to ease information entry and reduce keystroke and potential errors, and separate high resolution monitors for viewing images. Hologic said it will likely be a year or more before vision becomes commercial reality.  

McKesson Corp. debuted a new version of its Horizon Rad Station, a RIS/PACS workstation that streamlines images and patient data. The workstation features adaptive image loading to optimize image display and navigation, virtual image management to support the visualization of data obtained via multislice CT and MR imaging, and clinical series mapping to enable common display protocols for vendor-specific DICOM implementations. It can be configured on one, two, three or four monitor workstations, in grayscale portrait, landscape or in mixed orientations to suit user need and workflow.

Standard features include: Auto-open next stud, configurable display protocols, CR image processing, cross-study linking, document scanning, drag-and-drop image placement, image measurement and annotation functions, printing of images and annotations, real-size image, series manipulation, sophisticated study retrieval filters, study priority indicator, teaching files, voice clips and zom and pan. Special features include: Integration with voice recognition systems; image export with MI Disc View viewer; Nuclear Medicine Viewer; online report access; OrthoView orthopedics package; Vital Images Vitrea advanced 3D option; and Voxar 3D.

The Horizon Rad Station's has an intuitive user interface and worklist that can be sorted by modality, exam type, name or date. Display protocols can be configured to individual preferences that follow users anywhere across the enterprise. The In-box provides key information that allows the user to quickly move between scheduled studies, unreported studies and previous exams or reports. Study retrieval filters (both primary and secondary filters) enable more accurate and rapid searches and enhanced workflow, McKesson said. Cross-study linking gives the ability to view images side by side and to move through them simultaneously for comparative review.

Philips Medical Systems showcased the last version of the Philips ViewForum 4.1 and the Philips JETStream Workspace for nuclear medicine.

The Philips ViewForum 4.1 provides improved handling of large volumetric datasets through automated, quick data processing, sorting, ease of use and access to data-rich images from modalities such as 3D CT and MR, the company said. The new Volume Inspection feature brings 3D into the clinical routine. It is a new way to inspect large datasets quickly and completely. Philips ViewForum integrates seamlessly with Philips EasyAccess, enriching the EasyAccess workspot to a true diagnostic review and processing workspot.

ViewForum reduces time spent on case preparations by automatically setting up a clinically relevant display. It also brings 3D visualization into the clinical routine with the introduction of Volume Inspection. Among the clinical applications it provides are CT/MR Quantitative Contrast Analysis, Cardiac MR Functional Analysis, MR Quantitative Flow, MR Perfusion Analysis, MR BOLD Analysis, MR Quantitative Magnetization Transfer Analysis, MR Coronary Inspection, and X-ray Vascular Processing.

The Philips JETStream Workspace is the next generation, comprehensive nuclear medicine workstation. It encompasses all the imaging elements of a nuclear medicine department in one, easy-to-handle environment. Display, processing, review, reporting and image archiving can exist in one environment at a single location or be distributed throughout the department in multiple locations.

Sectra showcased its FDA-cleared dedicated breast imaging workstation. The new workstation extends IDS5 workstation family to meet the demanding workflow requirements of full-field digital mammography, providing breast imaging specialists with true multi-modality capability, the company said.

The workstation is part of the Sectra PACS for Breast Imaging, a complete system for the processing and archiving of all digital images used in mammography. With the system, all necessary information, such as images and patient data, is made available at reviewing workstations. This permits for the radiologists to perform their work productively, cost-effectively and securely without compromising diagnostic quality or patient integrity.

The workstation supports CAD from R2 using the CSN (Clinical Solutions Network) framework, Sectra said.

Tests of the breast imaging workstation were performed in cooperation with the Elizabeth Wende Breast Clinic in Rochester, N.Y., which performs more than 70,000 mammography exams per year and a number of different modalities, such as FFDM, MRI and ultrasound from several vendors.

Siemens Medical Solutions highlighted its Leonardo Workstation, a multi-modality workstation for boosting workflow and productivity. This multi-functional workstation can be dedicated for orthopedics, surgery, angiography or other clinical modalities. An extensive list of post-processing packages from modality specific applications to 3D include CT, angiography, MRI, nuclear medicine and radiation therapy.


AFC Industries, Inc. introduced the ErgoTier ergonomic cart geared for boosting productivity and reducing stress and the Telescopic Cart for tight spaces.

The single-tier cart combines a strong, durable, height-adjustable workstation with a new flat-panel monitor platform. The workstation height adjusts with the touch of a button. The monitor's forward, backward and tilt positions also can be fine-tuned to meet each user's needs. Cable management keeps wires neat and unobstrusive, while dimmer-controlled task lighting illuminates the user's work to desired intensity. Adjustable phone and dictation equipment supports keep the equipment within easy reach while work surfaces aren't cluttered. The cart also has a CPU/UPS platform, sturdy footrest to ease back strain and a cup holder. 

Anthro Corp. introduced its new ergonomically designed PACS workspace: Carl's Table, which is named after the original Swedish designer.

The worktable monitor system addresses a number of potential injury-producing factors to design an entire environment for the clinician to use. The wrap-around panel is lined with acoustic fabric and foam to produce a 25 to 30 percent noise reduction feature. The interactive lighting system reads the light coming off of the monitors and then adjusts the background lighting on the workstation itself to reduce eye fatigue and strain. The table raises, lowers and tilts to accommodate the user's preferred work position.

The system is designed to reduce work-related injuries, and can be placed in a reading room with multiple systems. Because the height of the entire unit can be adjusted from 25 inches to 50 inches, the clinician can stand or sit or even semi-recline to read studies.

Planar Systems at RSNA introduced the Dome Surgery Review Cart that brings PACS images into the OR. The system gives surgeons on-demand access to prior studies, potentially speeding up procedures and eliminating the costs of printing and even losing films, the company said. Designed specifically for use in the OR, the cart can be cleaned easily, is compact and features a sealed keyboard and Dome video card. The cables are on the inside of the cart. A mounting bracket holds a mini-tower CPU securely to the cart. The hospital can choose a PC and connect via wired or wireless network.

The Dome Surgery Review Cart comes in color and grayscale configurations, with dual side-by-side monitors with Dome CXtra software for DICOM-compliant viewing of x-ray, CT, MR, nuclear medicine and ultrasound images. The Dome C3i and C2 are 3 and 2MP displays for viewing software tissue, neurologic and orthopedic studies. They have automatic DICOM calibration.

Richardson Electronics showcased a mobile medical cart with two 30-inch monitors for review of images in the OR or trauma department. Plug-and-play capability allows it to be rolled to and used in different departments throughout the hospital. Richardson featured its larger screen LCD display line, such as a 32-inch, flat-panel monitor used in surgical settings and a 40-inch display that is primarily used for teaching purposes. This year, Richardson will focus on the release of larger flat-panel displays for the healthcare market, including a 42-, 52- and possibly a 56-inch monitor.