New Views on the Horizon

One of the best things about the annual RSNA conference is the opportunity to be introduced to new science and technology. Although a long-awaited modality (integrated PET/) took center stage at the 2010 meeting, some of the most exciting advances were unveiled on the lower level of Lakeside Center at Chicago’s McCormick Place.

The development of new—and enhancement of existing—modalities over the past decade has been both a blessing and a challenge. The delivery of technologies such as mega-slice , high field-strength MRI, and the fusion of the anatomical with the functional in PET/, SPECT/, and PET/MRI has been a blessing for disease detection, staging, and management. However, these same devices have proven a challenge across the spectrum of diagnostic imaging—the volume of raw data delivered by these modalities requires a more robust informatics infrastructure, new archiving strategies, greater processing power at the interpretation station, and new tools and paradigms for diagnostic interpretation.

Luminaries from professional organizations such as the Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine (SIIM) have been warning their clinical colleagues of an image data deluge, as well as advocating new interpretative models, for  years. A young radiologist and informatics developer, Supratik Moulik, M.D., from The Ohio State University Medical Center in Columbus, demonstrated an innovative approach to meeting the need for a new interpretative method at the 2010 RSNA, with an interactive 3D solution.

It’s true that advanced visualization tools, which incorporate 3D image reconstruction algorithms, have been on the market and in the reading room for the past few years. Moulik’s take on these offerings is refreshingly straightforward.

“It is kind of meaningless to have a 3D display if you are unable to interact with the data in 3D,” he observed.

He and his team have developed an interactive 3D PACS product that utilizes stereoscopic display technologies and offers real-time data manipulation. And, it features commercial, off-the-shelf hardware for computation and interaction. Watching Moulik demonstrate the technology for diagnostic image interpretation was akin to a deeper, richer experience of the 3D interactivity glimpsed in the 2002 neo-noir thriller, Minority Report.

Moulik and his fellow developers believe that the transition from 2D to 3D display technology is eminent and it is incumbent upon the radiology community to integrate this new technology into the practice of medicine.

If you have any comments or observations on the potential impact of alternative interpretation technologies, please contact me at the address below. I look forward to hearing from you.

Jonathan Batchelor, Consulting Editor

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