Interactive 3D tools crawl the Web

December 19, 2005

Clinical software tools shown at the 2005 RSNA meeting are turning standard PCs and laptops into interactive diagnostic workstations. As a result, radiologists have the ability to pull up a set of diagnostic-quality images and perform a basic diagnostic review on the fly, driving advanced 3D applications from anywhere at any time. And radiologists are not the only ones to benefit.

Clinical software tools shown at the 2005 RSNA meeting are turning standard PCs and laptops into interactive diagnostic workstations. As a result, radiologists have the ability to pull up a set of diagnostic-quality images and perform a basic diagnostic review on the fly, driving advanced 3D applications from anywhere at any time. And radiologists are not the only ones to benefit.

Referring clinicians can use these tools to access dynamic sets of interactive imaging information that can be applied when preparing for surgery or explaining pathologies to patients. And both radiologists and referring physicians will have synchronized views of imaging data they can navigate in an interactive conference call.

Advantage Workstation (AW) RemoteAccess from GE Healthcare brings the functionality of AW's 3D visualization and analysis solutions to any PC or laptop computer. AW RemoteAccess operates in two modes. In Remote Review, several users can simultaneously tap into a host AW and complete maximum intensity projection/multiplanar reformatting tasks on any exam available at the host workstation as well as perform 3D review, make real-time rotations, and take distance and angle measurements on regions of interest.

In Virtual AW mode, a single user may "drive" an AW host remotely and apply any of the workstation's specialty applications to conduct an in-depth cardiac analysis or take segmentation measurements. Multiple users from different remote locations can be online at the same time to do a 3D image analysis.

"Radiologists need to have a tool that will help them take a look at a case and conduct a basic 3D review remotely so they can make a diagnosis in the middle of the night from home," said Jennifer Dible, general manager of global workstations and clinical software for GE Healthcare. "If they need to get into more in-depth advanced applications, they can interact with images directly or have operations such as advanced vessel analysis at their fingertips so they can determine the degree of stenosis of a blood vessel without anything more than a high-speed connection to the Internet and their PC."

Web-based ViTALConnect from Vital Images brings 2D, 3D, and 4D advanced visualization to physicians' PCs or notebook computers. ViTALConnect version 4.0 takes snapshots of imaging data created from Vitrea, Vital Images' flagship software product, and restores them so they can be viewed by clinicians via the Web in fully interactive MPR or volumetric views.

ViTALConnect also allows clinicians and radiologists to hold teleconference consultations that review the same imaging data at the same time. Radiologists follow clinicians' path on their viewing screens as the clinicians scroll through imaging data and mark for discussion the areas that are confusing or unclear to them. Radiologists and clinicians can also pass control of image viewing back and forth to highlight and track relevant findings.

"Referring physicians, surgeons, and cardiologists need something that is more than a static sheet of film or snapshot. They need a living model of data in front of them," said Vincent Argiro, founder and chief technology officer of Vital Images.

Clinical images often do not capture the precise perspective that a surgeon or a cardiologist needs to understand, Argiro said. Images may be only 5° to 7° in the wrong perspective, but that is enough to complicate the clinicians' appreciation of the organ or blood vessel they will be treating.

"We are putting a living model of data in front of clinicians, and we are doing it on a scale that can be brought across an entire enterprise," he said.