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Automating PACS Quality Control with the Vanderbilt Image Processing Enterprise Resource

Posted by on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 in Informatics / Big Data.

M. L. Esparza, E. B. Welch and B. A. Landman. “Automating PACS Quality Control with the Vanderbilt Image Processing Enterprise Resource.” In Proceedings of the SPIE Medical Imaging Conference. San Diego, California, February 2012 (Oral Presentation)

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Precise image acquisition is an integral part of modern patient care and medical imaging research. Periodic quality control using standardized protocols and phantoms ensures that scanners are operating according to specifications, yet such procedures do not ensure that individual datasets are free from corruption-for example due to patient motion, transient interference, or physiological variability. If unacceptable artifacts are noticed during scanning, a technologist can repeat a procedure. Yet, substantial delays may be incurred if a problematic scan is not noticed until a radiologist reads the scans or an automated algorithm fails. Given scores of slices in typical three-dimensional scans and wide-variety of potential use cases, a technologist cannot practically be expected inspect all images. In large-scale research, automated pipeline systems have had great success in achieving high throughput. However, clinical and institutional workflows are largely based on DICOM and PACS technologies; these systems are not readily compatible with research systems due to security and privacy restrictions. Hence, quantitative quality control has been relegated to individual investigators and too often neglected. Herein, we propose a scalable system, the Vanderbilt Image Processing Enterprise Resource-VIPER, to integrate modular quality control and image analysis routines with a standard PACS configuration. This server unifies image processing routines across an institutional level and provides a simple interface so that investigators can collaborate to deploy new analysis technologies. VIPER integrates with high performance computing environments has successfully analyzed all standard scans from our institutional research center over the course of the last 18 months.