Highly efficient slice visualization for clinical diagnostic assessment of digital image volumes
A major efficiency problems in clinical diagnostic work today is the increasingly large image stacks. To browse slices is extremely common, but current interfaces have clear limitations. This demonstrator project aims to develop new tools for efficient navigation and visualization of slices from medical image volumes based on the following cornerstones: the radiologist´s perceptual image review process, state-of-the-art scientific visualization, and interaction solutions from other domains.
- Former Staff:
- Project Description:
Radiological medical imaging is in Sweden today fully converted to the digital domain. The image stacks produced by Computed Tomography (CT) and Magnetic Resonance (MR) modalities have greatly increased in size in recent years, in particular due to the deployment of multi-slice CTs. A few years back, a typical CT stack would have been about 200 slices, whereas 2000 slices is a standard examination today. Time sequences and multi-variate data further increase this data explosion trend.
One of the major problems in clinical diagnostic work today is the user interaction in Picture Archiving and Communications Systems (PACS), where the radiologist browses the slices of the increasingly large image stacks to determine clinically relevant findings. In spite of the fact that this task is extremely common, the browsing interfaces provided in PACS today has several serious drawbacks:
Inefficient browsing of stacks with thousands of slices increases examination time
Unexploited image quality - slice groups are often merged to diminish the browsing problem increasing the risk of missing relevant pathologies
The interaction does not integrate other standard viewing modes, such as MultiPlanar Reconstruction, or more advanced data set exploration methods
Poor ergonomics - the browsing is strenuous and when routinely performed many hours a day it can cause physical damages to the examiner
This demonstrator project aims to develop new tools for efficient navigation and visualization of slices from medical image volumes by the following cornerstones:
-The radiologist´s perceptual image review process
In order to meet the radiologist´s explicit and implicit demands, the project will use perceptual research relevant to clinical image review as the foundation of the developed methods.
-State-of-the-art scientific visualization.
The project will incorporate recent research results on techniques and devices for efficient user interaction that are relevant in the diagnostic context.
-Solutions from other domains
The project will evaluate advanced user interaction tools that are used in other domains, as e.g. the gaming industry, where efficient navigation and other user interaction are crucial.
The software part of the demonstrator project will consist of a plug-in application to Sectra-Imtec´s PACS products, which enables realistic and fast exploration of commercial possibilities.
From a research point of view, the aim is well in line with the current research focus on end-user application improvements in scientific visualization. As this project aims to increase efficiency and quality for a very central part of the future healthcare system a significant impact on healthcare economics can be expected. The industrial impact is mainly the expected commercial advantage and strengthened global market position for Sectra-Imtec, which also strengthens Sweden´s position as one of the leading regions for medical imaging.
This is a cooperation between Örebro University Hospital, CMIV and Sectra-Imtec AB. The main staff connected to the project is:
Mats Lidén, MD, Örebro University Hospital (PhD student)
Claes Lundström, PhD, Sectra-Imtec AB
Håkan Geijer, MD, PhD, Örebro University Hospital
Torbjörn Andersson, MD, Prof, Örebro University Hospital
Anders Persson, MD, PhD, CMIV