NukeNanny tends nuclear medicine PACS

June 25, 2007

When the Mayo Clinic’s nuclear medicine PACS grew in complexity to the point that a monitoring program was needed to ensure that technical issues did not degrade performance, nothing satisfactory could be found on the commercial market.

When the Mayo Clinic's nuclear medicine PACS grew in complexity to the point that a monitoring program was needed to ensure that technical issues did not degrade performance, nothing satisfactory could be found on the commercial market.The clinic took matters into its own hands and designed a system called NukeNanny (J Nucl Med 2007;48 (Supplement 2):449P). "NukeNanny allows our team to monitor all of the critical components of our nuclear medicine PACS," said Royce L. Ruter of Mayo's Medical Imaging Technical Services. NukeNanny allows support services to verify digital image transfers, RIS uptime, network connectivity, and adequate server free space and to correct application operation, Ruter said. Now, instead of waiting for calls about problems, NukeNanny sends e-mail warnings and error documentation to technical support personnel, who can immediately address the situation."Before the design and implementation of NukeNanny, much of my day was spent waiting on pins and needles for the next call to let me know there was a problem," Ruter said. Before NukeNanny, details necessary to resolve problems were often not immediately available, causing support staff to search blindly for the source of the problem. NukeNanny directs staff to a specific component of the NM-PACS, thereby minimizing downtime. Ruter said NukeNanny has sometimes allowed support services to discover, troubleshoot, and correct infrastructure, database, and application problems even before technologists and physicians working on the system realize anything is wrong."Failure or corruption of any one of three primary NM-PACS applications -- acquisition gateway, image archiver, and patient prefetcher -- could cripple the entire NM-PACS and prevent data transfer and archival," Ruter said.

NukeNanny is designed to monitor the following items:

  • database integrity
  • adequate server disk space, including the presence of all archives
  • DICOM workstation availability
  • functionality of primary NM-PACS applications

NukeNanny also ensures that the RIS and institutional PACS are responding to requests, and it is designed to suspend and/or resume all NM-PACS applications as required, according to Ruter.

"NukeNanny also performs automatic backup of databases if it detects a critical loss of storage space on servers," he said. "If a database is not accessible, it sends an e-mail to the systems administrator."