Workstation training: So easy a journalist could do it

May 17, 2010
Greg Freiherr

Gone, thankfully, are the days of million-dollar workstations whose end products, 3D figurines, looked more like Visible Man models than radiologic reconstructions. Not that they weren’t impressive. They were, rotating as they did, on color screens when gray scale was in vogue. But they were as clinically useful as they were dramatic.

Gone, thankfully, are the days of million-dollar workstations whose end products, 3D figurines, looked more like Visible Man models than radiologic reconstructions. Not that they weren’t impressive. They were, rotating as they did, on color screens when gray scale was in vogue. But they were as clinically useful as they were dramatic.

Today 3D reconstructions bring value to patient assessments, as will be seen Wednesday, May 19, during the Workstation Face-Off, as well as in numerous and varied presentations throughout the ISCT Symposium. All the more impressive is how many tedious and difficult tasks, from bone subtraction to soft tissue segmentation, are automatically performed. The operator now fine tunes the reconstruction, adding medical insights through the application of software tools. Of course, before this can be done, operators must be trained.

Vital Images is among the workstation companies that have inaugurated formal training programs. Its “ViTAL U” program teaches the fundamentals of advanced visualization, usually in a classroom designed for lecture and training, sometimes onsite for customers who cannot get to ViTAL U in Minnesota, and occasionally online.

The company indulged me in the latter opportunity, one that proved even a journalist with no prior training in graphic arts could create a 3D rendition from CT data with less than 10 minutes’ instruction .