Postprocessing soaks up data overload

January 12, 2004

The increasing use of novel imaging techniques, such as multidetector CT, 3D and 4D displays, functional MR, and contrast-enhanced ultrasound, has created storage and data handling problems for PACS. An institution performing 100 MDCT exams a day may

The increasing use of novel imaging techniques, such as multidetector CT, 3D and 4D displays, functional MR, and contrast-enhanced ultrasound, has created storage and data handling problems for PACS.

An institution performing 100 MDCT exams a day may generate 12 TB/year of data and $1 million in short-term storage costs alone, leading to degraded system performance and frequent reinvestment in PACS expansion.

Bundang Seoul National University Hospital in Korea recently introduced a dedicated miniPACS called RawData PACS designed to handle the immense amount of data generated by the latest imaging techniques. Its aim is to relieve the hospital's main PACS of many of its image handling chores.

"Initial image data sets are stored in RawData PACS, then automatically routed to the relevant radiologist's postprocessing/analysis workstation," said RawData developer Dr. Kyoung Ho Lee, a clinical instructor in diagnostic radiology at Bundang.

Under RawData PACS, only selected slices and postprocessed images are sent to the main PACS. Source data from newer modalities are accessed by only a limited number of users.

"Most clinicians regard these data as troublesome," Lee said.

Source data are not for busy outpatient clinics, but only for image postprocessing and analysis. Thus there is no need to store these data in expensive short-term PACS storage for long periods.

"Because initial image data sets are rarely retrieved, and only a few if any medical personnel access these data, a low-cost, small-capacity PACS can work effectively," Lee said.

The RawData PACS frees the main PACS from the burden of handling data generated by the newest imaging techniques, avoiding unexpected and undesirable expansion of the entire PACS and leading to overall cost savings.

"The cost-saving effect will also help in expanding application of the newest imaging techniques in daily practice," he said.

Response time is zero to access the source data, which are permanently stored, enabling postprocessing and analysis of every exam, he said. The RawData PACS technique can also be applied to other modality data sets, such as functional MR and contrast-enhanced ultrasound cine clips.