Wednesday, January 04, 2012

The Advanced Visualization Caucus

"Glass View" on IntelliSpace, Courtesy of Philips.
(Note...this is NOT an endorsement of any particular product!!!)

The First (and probably Last) Annual Advanced Visualization Shoot-Out (a.k.a. Dalai's Advanced Visualization Caucus, Mini-RSNA) went off with only a few hitches, which I'll outline in a moment.

The vendors all arrived early this morning, and set up their wares in our hospital auditorium. The digs weren't all that fancy, but the cavernous room was nice and warm on an unusually cold day down here in the Deep South. Everyone found a corner with adequate electrical outlets, and within an hour, we had a Technical Exhibit Hall that rivaled some I've seen at relatively large meetings. OK, it wasn't quite RSNA, but this ain't Chicago, and thank God for that!

Pat, the PACS Goddess!
Before I go any further, I must express profuse thanks to Pat, our PACS Goddess. She juggled three dozen variables, kept vendors, docs, and administrators on time and on schedule, and just generally made this thing happen. I'll admit that I came up with the general idea and some of the specifics (mostly stolen from the Stanford PET/CT shoot-out), but Pat deserves the lion's (sorry, Tiger's!) share of the credit for her hard work that brought us all together. And I am extremely grateful to the vendors themselves who came down for this little shindig at no small expense. As proof of their attendance, here are non-Photoshopped images of each vendor team. Note to Corporate: they all actually did show up here to South Carolina, so please pay their expenses. Trust me, NO ONE would visit this particular spot if they didn't have a good reason! Here they are, in no particular order:

Team Siemens
Team Vital
Team Tera
Team Philips
Team GE
Team Techs

The last photo, of course, depicts two of our superb CT techs, who will actually have to use whatever we purchase. And I pity the fool who doesn't take their opinions into account. Needless to say, I will!

And that is really the bottom line. This is a decision that affects the way our techs and rads will operate, and so we have to pick the solution that is right for our particular shop. We are quite fortunate in that regard: each of the five contenders would do the job for us, and do it well. The key is to drill down to the one that will work best...for all of us.

Gathering five major companies in a room together is a monumental feat. One vendor suggested that their willingness to do so was related in some way! It seems that the majority of the attendees are devotees of my blog (one poor fellow even used the word "star-struck" which indicates that he needs to get out more) and thus wanted the chance to participate in this event. I'm honored and humbled, and glad that my reputation (good, bad, or otherwise) contributed to the chance to make a good decision for my hospital. 

I suppose you want to know which product won the competition, yes? Sorry...for that, you will have to wait. Pat the PACS Goddess and I will have to compile the questionnaires (and quiz those who didn't bother to fill one out) to see which system will take its place in our place. All of these systems actually work well; each does some things better than others, and better than the rest. 

Each of our participants watched the various programs put through their paces. We had intended to see only our own data run through the processing protocols, but not all of our cases exported properly to disk, which is our own fault and not that of the vendors. Frankly, I wish we had had a week or two more to set this up, but the auditorium was available TODAY, and not again for months, so it was now or never. We were able to view a mixture of our own cases and those from the vendors' stashes, and I think it all turned out well in the end.

I'm not going to go into minute detail about every facet of every system. The post would grow to epic proportions, and you would be bored silly by the end of it. Here are some rather vague tidbits:
  • The program I initially thought would be best...wasn't. 
  • The program I initially thought would be worst...wasn't.
  • The level of automation is quite high with all five. 
  • The more raw horsepower, the more complex the interface.
  • Several pieces of software are not yet approved (remember, RSNA=Real Software Not Available).
  • There are several ways to display transparent/translucent bones.
  • No one would give me one of the ubiquitous iPad's. 
  • There are vendor-specific iPhone/iPad apps that the vendors don't know about.
  • Everyone was anxious to know who won and when the P.O. would be cut, although some were more anxious than others.

So, without further ado, my personal favorite was:...........,,,mjkhgyuftdseaweqTWAYESURIDTOF

Note from Mrs. Dalai:  Hi, everyone. I found Dr. Dalai fast asleep with his head on the keyboard. You must have worn him out today! I'm sure he'll come back and tell you who won, eventually. In the meantime, I'm putting him to bed without his dinner.


Celticpiping said...

wait a minute..,,,mjkhgyuftdseaweqTWAYESURIDTOF in old PACSish spells ...AGFA!

Anonymous said...

Dew4vol said...
Refer to your 1962 Ovaltine decoder ring for the answer to who won.

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to hearing the results Sam!