It has been demonstrated that an image acquired with a digital camera and stored to electronic media in .JPG format, may be converted to a DICOM file with appropriate patient meta data and then stored in a PACS. Since many PACS companies are not able to store color .JPG images so readily, nor are they in agreement on how to classify them, i.e. the two-digit modality code; there hasn't been a strong incentive to accommodate them. PACS pricing structures and security systems are not designed for such low volume, highly personal images, either. Thus, we provide an authoring tool, viewer and mini-PACS that are relatively inexpensive in keeping with the price of the acquisition device (digital camera). The viewer is web based to provide flexibility in viewing the images and has capabilities for impressions or note taking. Images are displayed in a rack format and may be re-arranged to alternative presentation states. Each image may be selected, and a daughter window created to provide image manipulations such as pan, zoom, and rotate as well as region of interest measurements. Two or more such windows may be linked for simultaneous zooming or panning. The back office, or miniPACS, maintains a database of patient, study and image information as well as physician and practice information. Images are only accessible by the requesting physician or within the physician's practice. Time limited access to specific studies may be granted to outside physicians by the patient's physician. Such shared studies may also be de-identified before being shared with others. Authoring is through a web based tool that incorporates information from external patient databases, form entries, and images from the camera. Protocols dictate the level of image interaction. Currently, a batch mode provides automatic file names and descriptions for the images, and a single image mode provides an interface to enter image specific information. The images may be either saved locally in the DICOM format, or can be sent to the server along with the instructions file in XML format for incorporation into the imaging database.
1)Convert digital images to a DICOM format through an authoring process. 2)Understand the components of a color image miniPACS. 3)Address limitations of current PACS implementations with color images. 4)Select, manipulate and interact with color images associated with a patient's visits.