Visualization tools are becoming increasingly important in the radiology department. However, when words like 3D and MPR are mentioned most people’s thoughts go directly to advanced visualization applications. These applications are extremely capable in the specialized clinical areas they target, but they are not necessarily right for the everyday visualization needs most people face. A general-purpose solution available throughout the enterprise, as a complement to more advanced solutions, is what really realizes the big productivity gains.
“The proportion of functional diagnostics is increasing within radiology, while the overall number of exams is growing. We can also see an increase in the use of hybrid modalities such as PET/CT. These two trends taken together have resulted in a greater need for volume visualization and put high demands on us as providers,” says Lisa Lindfors, who is part of the product manager team for Sectra’s volume visualization solutions.
Simple, simple, simple
“To maintain radiologist efficiency, it’s important that visualization functionality is a natural part of the workflow. It has to be simple, simple, simple,” Lindfors comments. “The radiologist shouldn’t need to switch programs. He or she should be met by the same interface, short commands and shortcuts as in the 2D workflow, and should be able to apply the tools needed at a simple click of a button, without losing the context in the image. This is even more important today than before because of the progress within this area.”
One application area where it is clear how volume visualization can help the radiologist is vessel analysis. The Sectra Vessel Analysis Tool is designed to facilitate diagnosis and stent planning for different vessels.
“This tool will generate clear efficiency gains. For example, it allows the user to automatically create a centerline through the vessel with a number of critical measure points, such as the minimum and maximum diameters of the vessel, length and automatic calculations of the stenotic degree with just a few simple clicks. It also features functionality that makes it very easy to separate the vessel from the surrounding bone tissue. This renders the radiologists’ workflow even more efficient since there is no longer a need to conduct manual measurements or to open up separate visualization applications. The tool simplifies the radiologists’ work, but it also provides superior service to referring physicians by supporting pre-operative planning,” says Lisa Lindfors.
Improving dialog means improving productivity
“There is a growing need for a more efficient dialog between referring clinicians and radiologist,” Lisa Lindfors continues. “3D is unbeatable for visualizing complex processes. With a easy-to-use 3D tool, the threshold for the radiologist to provide the referring physicians with 3D renderings is lowered. It may even be possible for the referring physicians to create their own 3D images.