InfoRad: Free software helps extract images from troublesome CDs

December 2, 2005

A computer application that permits technicians to easily download images from CDs produced by a variety of vendors – so long as they contain DICOM tags – was among a series of innovative infoRad presentations that won “certificate of merit” awards from the RSNA program committee at the meeting in December.

A computer application that permits technicians to easily download images from CDs produced by a variety of vendors - so long as they contain DICOM tags - was among a series of innovative infoRad presentations that won "certificate of merit" awards from the RSNA program committee at the meeting in December.

Downloading CD-based images brought in by patients or sent by physicians has become a major headache for radiology departments everywhere. Often the CDs use proprietary formats and technicians must devote considerable time to extracting the images so they can be reviewed by attending radiologists.

A team now based in the United Kingdom developed a system to decode the CDs. The computer application automatically detects the CDs, scans them for medical images, makes any necessary DICOM header corrections, and routes the images to a DICOM viewer.

Best of all, it's free.

"We've had a big reaction from all over the world," said Arpad Bischof, manager of Image Information Systems Ltd. "They can't believe we're giving away this application for free."

Eventually, the group plans to develop and sell a commercial version, which would need to be approved by the FDA for use in the U.S. In the meantime, the free version is available at at www.DICOMreader.com. (The presentation's infoRad identification number is 9809 PM-i.)

Other certificate of merit winners included:

  • A fully-customizable digital dashboard for radiology. Digital dashboards that draw and display real-time image status information from a variety of sources are the latest hot ticket in workflow management. A team from the University of Maryland weighed in with its dashboard strategy: a series of functions derived from a survey of users, customizable for information and alerts, and usable on a client's computer or via the web. (9811 PM-i)

  • A mobile PDA application for distribution of medical images and patient/staff tracking verification. PDAs continue to make inroads in all medical specialties. A team from the University of Southern California last year presented a PDA-based system for image exam reporting and management. New features this year permit tracking of patient/staff locations and verification/identification through biometrics. (9903 PDA-i)

  • Patient tracking and facial biometrics integrated in a clinical environment for HIPAA security clearance. The same USC research team demonstrated a novel system that used wireless tracking and biometric technology to identify staff and patients. (9711 NT-i)

  • Automatic window-level calculation for DICOM to JPEG conversion for vendor-neutral teaching file web application. According to the Utah-based research team, window-level settings vary by vendor and are a major obstacle in exporting DICOM images from PACS to a vendor-neutral teaching file in a desktop publishing setting. They developed an algorithm to accomplish the task. (9421 IMA-i)