March 2015


Sunday, March 8 (ECR) – There may not be a designated PACS for research yet, but there are plenty of tools that can simplify research work, as experts will show during a Special Focus session today at the ECR.

PACS is used in daily clinical practice to view straightforward and routine radiology examinations, but when performing research, one needs totally different settings, according to Prof. Davide Caramella, professor of radiology at Santa Chiara Hospital in Pisa, Italy, who will chair the session.

“There are tools developed for clinical practice but they are not applicable to research because the criteria are totally different. For instance, in clinical practice you need to have a very clear identification of the patient by name, surname, birthdate, etc. In research, the study must be as anonymous as possible,” he said.

With PACS, radiologists can compare examinations of the same patient to avoid making mistakes. But it’s almost impossible to compare the examination of patient A with patient B, which is exactly what researchers need to do when they evaluate, for instance, the effect of a drug in different patients.

In addition, PACS does not support the integration of other software. Add-ons offered by manufacturers to bridge the gap are not good enough for research work, he believes. Instead, researchers can export their data to other software such as OsiriX.

Extracting image metadata to perform a follow-up study of a patient who has undergone some chemotherapy to establish the response criteria may prove tricky with PACS. Conversely, commercial software, such as RECIST Tracker (Fujifilm) and mintLesion (Mint Medical) enable easy extraction of these metadata, according to Caramella.

A whole range of free web resources can help improve research efficiency. Andrew Scarsbrook, clinical associate professor of radiology at Leeds University, UK, will explain to delegates how to harness free applications and open-source software to enhance the performance of imaging research.

“It’s possible to create a comprehensive suite of IT tools for imaging research which complement PACS,” he said.

Researchers can improve effectiveness by making use of highly specific search engines; they can either create their own bespoke search engine or utilise radiology-centric search engines over and above Google, which are available on the net, he said. To stay up-to-date with radiological developments and literature in an area of interest, and keep up with others’ work, they can also configure customised citation alerts. Pieces of software like Evernote can help them increase efficiency and organisation.

Extracting image metadata to perform a follow-up study of a patient who has undergone some chemotherapy to establish the response criteria may prove tricky with PACS. Conversely, commercial software, such as RECIST Tracker (Fujifilm) and mintLesion (Mint Medical) enable easy extraction of these metadata, according to Caramella.

A whole range of free web resources can help improve research efficiency. Andrew Scarsbrook, clinical associate professor of radiology at Leeds University, UK, will explain to delegates how to harness free applications and open-source software to enhance the performance of imaging research.

“It’s possible to create a comprehensive suite of IT tools for imaging research which complement PACS,” he said.

Researchers can improve effectiveness by making use of highly specific search engines; they can either create their own bespoke search engine or utilise radiology-centric search engines over and above Google, which are available on the net, he said. To stay up-to-date with radiological developments and literature in an area of interest, and keep up with others’ work, they can also configure customised citation alerts. Pieces of software like Evernote can help them increase efficiency and organisation.


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