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DICOM receive software, network configuration, transferring & viewing images, and archiving

Step 3:

DICOM Receive Software

It is necessary to install a DICOM receive software on the workstation PC so that it can receive the images. This software may be stand-alone or may be part of a bundled program where a viewer and maybe even 3D may be available together.

All these may be obtained on the net.

Free:

Efilm - www.efilm.ca

Payment

Digital Jacket - www.desacc.com

Etiam - www.etiam.net

Indian (not available on the net)

Infometry - www.infometry.com

Avant-Tec - www.avanttec.com

Manmar Technologies - www.manmartech.com

The Indian companies however charge between Rs 2-3 lakhs and can be quite expensive.

There are more resources, a list of which can be obtained by typing "DICOM receive software" in the search-box at www.google.com

Of these, Digital Jacket costing 1500$ according to me is the best. As of April, DesAcc is working on a new product that should be available in a couple of weeks or a month; it will probably bundle the DICOM receive software with a viewer.

A good receive software not only receives the images, but it categorizes them on the hard disk, according to patient name or ID with subdirectories for different sequences and series. This allows easy retrieval and identification of the stored images. The images are stored as .dcm images.

 

Step 4:

Configuring the Network and Transferring the Images

The network should be appropriately configured. For this, the workstation PC should be given a unique name and a unique TC/IP address, such as 1.0.0.5. This can be done by going into Network Settings or Network Neighborhood, and configuring the settings. Alternatively the local computer/networking expert can do this. If other PCs are also on the same network, the testing becomes easier. If the camera is on the DICOM network, you can ask the camera engineer to do this for you.

One the network is configured at the workstation end, the modality needs to be configured, preferably by the modality engineers. They will also assign the modality computer a unique name and TCP/IP address (if this has not already been done) and enter the workstation's name and IP address in the list of computers on the network. Once this is done, using the File/Copy command or equivalent, the images can be "sent" to the workstation computer.

When the images are being sent, both the computers (the modality and the workstation) will give statistics regarding the speed of transfer, the number transferred, etc.

 

Step 5:

Viewing

To view these images, many software packages are available

Free

1. Osiris V 4.0 from the University of Geneva. This is available at http://www.expasy.ch/UIN/html1/projects/osiris/DownloadOsiris.html and is probably the best viewer still available. It is completely free and allows images to be saved as .tif images individually if required.

2. AccuImage Lite available from www.accuimage.com is a basic viewer and completely free.

3. ImageJ developed by Wayne Rasband available at http://rsb.info.nih.gov/ij/ is also a completely free Java based software. It also allows batch conversion of the DICOM images into .jpg images with lossy compression. The .jpg images are usually between 9 to 25K in size as compared to the DICOM images, which are between 133K to 512K in size.

4. Efilm from www.efilm.ca is a free viewer bundled with the DICOM receive software

Shareware and "For Payment"

1. IrfanView developed by Irfan Skiljan is available at http://www.irfanview.com and is one of the best viewers available. It has support for DICOM images using the associated plug-in.

2. FP Image by Bill Wahlberg is a viewer that needs to be paid for and is available at www.fpimage.com

3. Desacc, the company selling Digital Jacket has a plug-in for Adobe Photoshop, that allows individual .dcm images to be viewed using Adobe Photoshop.

Typically Osiris and AccuImage Lite are usually good enough.

Other computers on the network can also view the images stored on the workstation PC using these softwares.

 

Step 6:

Archival

Archival is best done on CD-ROMs. Typically one CD-ROM can store on an average about 20 CT scans and 30 MRI scans. For a typical workload if all images of patients who were scanned are stored, it works out to 1CD/1-2days for CT and 1CD every 2-3 days for MRI. If integrated with a good 'Patient Reporting" or 'Information" software, and if the storage is done according to serial ID Nos or "date-patient" wise, individual patients and studies can be identified very quickly.

The need to make film based teaching files can be completely eliminated leading to some savings.

MODs, Zip disks and DAT tapes can also be used for archival, but for a simple system such as this, CDs are the best and cheapest method. For a PACS network in a hospital, DAT tapes or CD jukeboxes may be required.

Thus a basic viewing and archival station can be setup at minimal cost.

(next fortnight: Basic Teleradiology)

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