Two key goals of enterprise imaging are to help enhance communication and collaboration toward timely patient outcomes.
Ideally, an image viewer can provide clinicians, including radiologists and specialists, enterprise-wide and community-wide access to images and reports from anywhere there is internet access. Ideally, the image viewer would be cleared for diagnostic use of DICOM images and have capability to review other clinical content in a single solution. Examples of clinical content may include- but are not limited to – visible light, wound and dermatology images, pathology ROI, video captured in surgery and so on.
These needs can be fulfilled by imaging viewers that are considered thin clients or zero footprint. There are differences to consider about both types:
- Web-distributed application. Additionally, may require download of additional plug-in or runtime environment
- Requires administration rights for use
- May have limited browser options
- No separate software install
- No administration rights required
- Low system requirements with server side 3D rendering
- Supported on multiple web browsers and client platforms
Having said that, enterprise imaging users may appreciate certain features as part of their zero footprint experience:
- Enable multi-disciplinary care by providing consolidated access to medical imaging and content
- Capabilities ranging from simple report and key images to powerful tools such as volume rendering and reformats
- Ability to view non DICOM content – PDF, video, document
- Ability to view images on a device of choice e.g. tablet or PC
- Broad web browser support
And an organization’s IT staff and leadership may benefit from:
- Zero installation with no download of software on the user’s device, no administrative rights required to access software no patient data left behind on the device – helping to decrease reliance on IT staff for use and helping make patient care efficient
- Preserving the organization’s current investment in PACS
- The ability to leverage a single viewing solution on a vendor neutral archive (VNA) – from single department DICOM to enterprise wide multi-ology systems with DICOM and XDS content. This may help decrease integration costs by replacing several point to point integrations with a single image viewer
- Capabilities that enable secure access to images with Electronic Medical Record, HIS and RIS
- Reduced training costs given a common user experience for clinicians and radiologists
In closing, today’s enterprise imaging users have multiple options to access, read, collaborate and diagnose. Zero footprint and thin client options, while similar, are distinctly different.
Please consider those differences as you go forward in your own work.
And please do let me know your own experiences and insights. I’ll write more on this in the future.
Be encouraged in all you do!
*Where internet access is available