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Next-generation PACS: "Intelligent Image Viewing Workstations"

Radiologists interpret images on commercial Picture Archiving and Communications Systems (PACS), the functionality of which is currently focused on retrieving and displaying imagage of particular patients. While this technology has advanced the workflow of image interpretation, there are substantial opportunities to leverage the computer processing capability of PACS and the massive image archives which they contain to deliver decision support to radiologists. The future PACS will be a "portal" to radiological knowledge--the literature, electronically accessible data pertinaining to diseases, and even functionality to enable radiologists to find similar images to those under review to help them with their diagnoses. Incorporation of quantitative imaging methods for more robust evaluation will also be incorporated. The key initial advance in these systems will be integration of a range of clinical, pathological, and even molecular data to provide radiologists and treating physicians with a more complete picture of the patient than solely the images currently provide. We are currently develolping the functionalities of these future intelligent workstations in several projects ongoing in the lab, including quantitative imaging, image annnotation, natural language processing, and decision support.