Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Alone In A Conference Call

Today marks my first direct, spoken communication with GE discussing the problems we have had with Universal Viewer. I wish I could report some progress. I wish I could...

As Mrs. Dalai will tell you with great relish and regret (and those aren't easy traits to combine), I am not very good at reproducing conversations. But I'll give you the gist of it.

The call was led by someone most interested in the PET/CT problems. She wanted to understand our workflow, but after a few moments, it became clear that understanding was not likely. Contrary to assumptions on the other end, our older AW workstation does NOT save measurements on the AW server which we don't have. It took 10 minutes to get that across. To be fair, our UV still doesn't save measurements either, and it only took about 1 minute to get that across. Now, we do understand HOW to measure SUV's with UV. (At first, we weren't getting accurate readings, but our new mentor did prompt me to try it again, and SUVmax at least does yield the same number as our AW.) Even though our apps people should have told us how to measure SUV's and make hanging protocols and use the restroom all by ourselves, said our new friend, she would be glad to run us through these things on the WebX once more.

"OK," said I, "that's wonderful. But you do realize we can't read PET/CT on this viewer, yes? Because the fusion pane DOESN'T WORK! A fusion window needs to have an alpha control that varies the contribution of the PET and the CT. We don't have that. The fusion images are unreadable, and unusable, and thus so is the UV itself for PET/CT viewing!"

Oh, yes, we've heard that from other sites. We're working on adding the alpha function. All that IS available in the AW Suite if you didn't know. (We did know...when UV was demo'ed, we were shown AW functionality and I think we somehow thought it was to be included.) In the meantime, what else could we show you about UV?

I pressed on, adding more and more irritation to my voice. I started to wonder if the WebX had disconnected me somehow, as I began to feel quite alone in my own little world where my PACS doesn't work. You would think I could Imagine something better than that.

In my reverie, I reviewed some of our pressing problems beyond having to use the old AW to read PET/CT. Such as images showing up as "0% Loaded" when scrolling through a CT. Such as our annotations not saving. Such as annotations from old studies not showing up. Which is just wonderful for oncologic imaging wherein we measure lesions and determine if they are larger or (hopefully) smaller than they were last time. It helps to actually HAVE those measurements for comparison, otherwise we are doomed to remeasure and remeasure and remeasure. Yes, we are diligent about reporting the slice number and the measurement, but this is a little ridiculous in the 21st Century flagship PACS product of the largest healthcare company in the universe. It teeters on requiring reporting to the FDA. But I'll let someone above my meager pay-grade make that call.

But if I were in the market to buy a PACS, well...

Operator? I think I've been disconnected....


A ray of hope!

We've discovered, somewhat accidentally, on our own, with no help from the mother ship, that the annotations ARE saved...most of the time...within Presentation States. IF you know they're there. Next step: getting the presentation state to present automatically.

That's progress, folks!

1 comment :

Stacey Gordon said...

Essentially they sold it as a PET/CT reading viewer with the functionality necessary to read the danged things as vaporware. To Be Determined. That feature is on our road map. We knew it wouldn't work yet, but we have these 29 convulated steps as to how you can combine 2-4 different applications to achieve not quite the same thing.

How do you sell anything as a PET/CT reader without fusion functionality? Isn't the fusion of the images the point of combining the modalities>?