PACS firm lets your fingers do the walking

March 14, 2001

A touchscreen interface will control the next generation of PACS, if Image Technology Laboratories has its way. The Kingston, NY, company has developed such an interface to control diagnostic monitors in its own PC-based PACS. Spurring development of the

A touchscreen interface will control the next generation of PACS, if Image Technology Laboratories has its way. The Kingston, NY, company has developed such an interface to control diagnostic monitors in its own PC-based PACS. Spurring development of the interface were the clinical preferences of the company’s president and CEO, Dr. David Ryon.

“As a radiologist, I needed more flexibility and ease of operation than was available through current PACS vendors,” Ryon said.

PACS productivity is impaired by having GUI (graphical user interface) controls built into each monitor, he said. These controls are run by mouse interfaces that become ever more cumbersome as more monitors are added.

Image Technology collected all the GUI controls present on individual monitors and placed them on a single touchscreen controller positioned in front of the radiologist. The system supports simultaneous viewing of hundreds of images yet maintains individual control over the display screens.

“This allows us to have rapid navigation through the system, since touchscreen monitors are extremely fast, reliable, and intuitive,” Ryon said. “That’s why they’re used in many industries like fast food. You just touch the screen for the next operation you want to go through.”

The approach has the added benefit of optimizing screen space on display monitors. Removing control bars or similar GUIs across the top or down the side of those monitors opens enough space for a row or column of images, Ryon said.

Working with Dr. Carlton T. Phelps, a radiologist and software developer, and Lewis M. Edwards, a member of IBM’s senior technical staff, Ryon built the PACS around Windows 2000. The system supports most medical and software design interoperability standards, including DICOM, HL7, ODBC, HTML, TCP/IP, CORBA, and Microsoft DNA. One beta site is already operating, and the company plans to begin marketing the system in the third quarter of this year.