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PACS images: You can take them with you

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A computerized PACS authoring and editing environment for creation of image-based electronic teaching files can replace a collection of printed film images. CasIm@ge allows physicians to create reference databases for teaching and research directly

A computerized PACS authoring and editing environment for creation of image-based electronic teaching files can replace a collection of printed film images.

CasIm@ge allows physicians to create reference databases for teaching and research directly from clinical cases being reviewed on diagnostic workstations. The multimedia database and authoring environment was developed and integrated by the University of Geneva radiology department.

"The system has been used for over two years at the University of Geneva in Switzerland and for about a year at the University of California, Los Angeles," said Dr. Osman Ratib, a professor of radiology and vice chair of radiology information systems at UCLA. "It works in a client server mode where images can be uploaded to personal collections from any PACS workstation or computer in the department. These images can be further edited and commented on and organized through a convenient Web interface."

A stand-alone version can be loaded on a personal computer (Mac or Windows) and used to create a personal collection of cases. The system is fully DICOM-compliant and supports a large number of standard multimedia image file formats.

The collections of images are immediately available through a Web interface to all users without the need for additional software. The system can also generate offline CD-ROMs for distribution.

Development focused on convenience and ease of use of a generic system that would be adaptable to all users.

"It's pretty cool and very easy to use and can easily be integrated to any PACS environment," Ratib said. "All you have to do when you are on a PACS workstation is copy and paste the image to your personal collection while you are reading the studies for diagnostic interpretation."

A pilot system has been implemented in clinical operation, with a central server and several client units.

"The database is being developed by a student of mine at the University of Geneva," Ratib said. "He is finishing this program as part of his thesis and recently got an agreement to distribute a demo version as well as a commercial version."

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