Multimedia tool adds value to surgical conferencing

December 1, 2002

Clinical and surgical conferences are part of the process of patient management, especially in cardiology. These conferences require presentations of static and dynamic images and documents for review and clinical discussion."Currently, after the

Clinical and surgical conferences are part of the process of patient management, especially in cardiology. These conferences require presentations of static and dynamic images and documents for review and clinical discussion.

"Currently, after the conference where physicians discuss a case to decide whether surgery is indicated, we always dictate a report saying we reviewed such and such images and we decided to do surgery," said Dr. Osman Ratib, vice chair of radiological sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles. "Well, how do you document what you have looked at?"

Ratib presented a solution to this dilemma in an infoRAD exhibit at the RSNA meeting this morning. He's developed a multimedia presentation platform that allows retrieving data from any digital modality as well as analog images such as films and videotapes and converts them to DICOM files.

"This is something that PACS vendors don't have in their products," Ratib said. "When we present cases to surgeons, we want to be able to present them in a way that is perhaps out of order, maybe adding diagrams, ECGs, and documents - not just the images.

Surgical conferences, especially in cardiology, require review of many images, and a lot of time is wasted trying to get this image or that image, this ECG or that, according to Ratib.

"We tried to develop a digital platform that allows us to do that kind of presentation in a more efficient way, much like a PowerPoint presentation that you would prepare in advance with your notes and images," he said.

Ratib designed his platform to be simpler than PowerPoint, however. When surgeons read the cases, they can just tag the thumbnail image that they want to show, and the image appears on the screen.

"The key here is script-driven presentation," Ratib said. "You prepare your script the day before, download the images from the PACS and ECG from the patient record, and play the scripts the next day when you present to the surgeons. It's much more efficient."

Ratib said the real added value in changing the workflow this way is that now you have a document of what you have presented.

"That script becomes your document of what images have been reviewed," he said.

When the patient comes back in a month for surgery, the surgeon can review the conference of what was presented.

"In an area where workflow is critical, where we present enormous amount of data and imaging, we did not have a tool that was convenient enough to package the presentation," Ratib said.