Dealing with the difficulties of integrating various medical image viewing and processing technologies with a variety of clinical and departmental information systems and, in the meantime, overcoming the performance constraints in transferring and processing large-scale and ever-increasing image data in healthcare enterprise, we design and implement a flexible, usable and high-performance architecture for medical image workstations. This architecture is not developed for radiology only, but for any workstations in any application environments that may need medical image retrieving, viewing, and post-processing.
This architecture contains an infrastructure named Memory PACS and different kinds of image applications built on it. The Memory PACS is in charge of image data caching, pre-fetching and management. It provides image applications with a high speed image data access and a very reliable DICOM network I/O. In dealing with the image applications, we use dynamic component technology to separate the performance-constrained modules from the flexibility-constrained modules so that different image viewing or processing technologies can be developed and maintained independently. We also develop a weakly coupled collaboration service, through which these image applications can communicate with each other or with third party applications.
We applied this architecture in developing our product line and it works well. In our clinical sites, this architecture is applied not only in Radiology Department, but also in Ultrasonic, Surgery, Clinics, and Consultation Center. Giving that each concerned department has its particular requirements and business routines along with the facts that they all have different image processing technologies and image display devices, our workstations are still able to maintain high performance and high usability.