Post-processing as part of the workflow is a given with PACS workstations today. These post-processing techniques must be simple and rapid and the benefits are several:
- Improved hanging protocols. Post-processing at the PACS station is the most convenient, if it is part of the hanging protocols. This saves the radiologist time by eliminating the manual reordering of images for diagnosis and ensures a consistent presentation of the images for a particular study.
- Faster turnaround time. When additional reprocessing is necessary, beyond what the techs provide, time spent calling the techs and the delay in TAT can be obviated.
- Reduced tech time. When performed on the PACS as part of the routine hanging protocol, tech time can be minimized and more throughputs of cases may result.
- Clarification. Post-processing can be performed on the fly to clarify abnormalities for the reader and to provide demonstrations to clinicians.
I have experienced these benefits in the workplace, further proving my confidence in post-processing workflow in PACS. Here are two examples:
In the first example, a clinician came by immediately after a CT exam performed for complicated fractures in facial bones. The exam had been performed to clarify the extent of the fractures and to plan the imminent surgery. The 2D and 3D reformats had not yet been performed by the techs. Thanks to PACS post-processing capabilities, we were able to create the 2D and 3D images on the fly, which clarified the presence of a tripod type fracture with a subtle posterior component that was not obvious on the axial acquisition images.
By working directly with the clinician, I was able to quickly generate the views needed to answer his concerns. The clinician was rapidly satisfied that he had all the information necessary to perform the surgery, with none of the delays that would have occurred if the tech was involved.
The second example of success in post-processing involves selective views and measurements related to vascular stenoses (abnormal narrowing of blood vessels) using vessel probe type processing. This is performed by the radiologists on the PACS to clarify questionable findings on the acquisition images and/or the post processed images performed by the techs, increasing our level of confidence.
Post-processing In both of these cases provided our facility with the most efficient and effective workflow possible. Our post-processing capabilities at the PACS workstation have allowed us to make necessary simple and complicated 2D and 3D reformats in a short amount of time making it possible to quickly review procedures and to reach a higher level of confidence with our findings. We believe this has increased our accuracy level, and the confidence of our clinicians in our interpretations.