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Why are post-processing tools critical to Cloud PACs systems?
Why are post-processing tools critical to Cloud PACs systems?

Post-processing tools are essential in cloud PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication System) products. The value they provide varies greatly based on what Cloud PACS systems are used for, what they’re connected with and what types of images are being uploaded.

A quick look back at Cloud PACs vs On-Premises PACs:

Before jumping into post-processing needs, it is important to review why cloud PACs systems are chosen over on-premises systems, especially factors that impact post-processing capabilities. In their most basic form, Cloud PACS systems are generally chosen over on-premise, physical PACS systems due to their scalability and cost-effectiveness, allowing healthcare facilities to manage large volumes of imaging data without the need for substantial upfront hardware investments or ongoing maintenance costs. Because of their cloud-based nature and web-based access, they offer enhanced accessibility and collaboration features, enabling healthcare professionals to access medical images and reports from any location, facilitating remote diagnostics, triage and multidisciplinary, multi-location care.

Especially with cloud-based access, specialists and providers from different locations can simultaneously view and discuss imaging studies, annotate directly on the images, and share their insights in real time. This collaborative environment leads to more comprehensive and accurate diagnoses and treatment plans. This “anytime, anywhere” type access ensures flexibility in patient care, despite location, time zone differences and operating hours.

Post Processing Effect on Collaboration & Multi-disciplinary Approaches:

Functionally, post-processing tools allow for a thorough, collaborative and complete review of patient images. In the context of multidisciplinary care, especially for patients undergoing evaluation for surgery or complex cardiac interventions, cardiologists might review echocardiographic findings with other specialists (surgeons, interventional radiologists, etc.) in different locations or schedules to discuss treatment options. For particularly challenging or unusual cases, cardiologists may recheck images as part of seeking or providing a second opinion, ensuring the most accurate diagnosis and optimal treatment plan are achieved.

Medical images often need to be re-measured or annotated for various reasons, such as during follow-up examinations, when gleaning second opinions, or for surgical planning. These tools allow for precise measurements of dimensions, areas, and volumes, critical for treatments and interventions. Annotations can include textual notes, highlighting, and marking specific areas of interest, facilitating communication among healthcare professionals. They enable quick adjustments and enhancements to images, allowing clinicians to derive diagnostic information more efficiently. This can also help speed up the diagnosis process, as images can be fine-tuned for optimal clarity and detail, reducing the need for repeat scans.

Radiology is a great example, too. Post-processing tools built around advanced visualization and enhancement of image quality are critical for improving the clarity and detail of medical images, enabling clinicians to gain deeper insights. These tools help remove noise and artifacts, offering a clearer view that aids in accurate diagnosis and treatment planning.

Post Processing in Cardiology

The dynamic and collaborative nature of cardiac care often requires cardiologists to review sonographer-captured images for a variety of reasons, all of which enhance patient care through planning, validation and further interpretation.

Cardiologists often re-examine images to validate critical measurements such as chamber sizes, wall thicknesses, and ejection fraction, especially if initial findings suggest abnormalities that could influence treatment decisions and interventions. In cases where the sonographer has identified potential pathologies, a cardiologist might review the images to confirm the diagnosis and assess its severity. For patients with complex congenital heart diseases or intricate valvular pathologies, cardiologists may re-examine ultrasound images to fully understand the anatomical nuances and functional impacts, aiding in the planning of interventions or surgeries. In chronic conditions, such as cardiomyopathies or progressive valve diseases, cardiologists might review serial echocardiographic studies to evaluate disease progression and adjust treatment strategies accordingly.

Incorporation of AI

A post-processing environment also allows for integration of artificial intelligence not available on imaging modalities. The integration of artificial intelligence algorithms into Cloud PACs platforms enhances productivity and efficiency in medical image analysis. AI can aid in diagnosing diseases across various specialties, streamlining workflows, and producing ready-to-read images for faster decision-making.

Read more about UltraLinQ partnership with a market-leading cardiac ultrasound AI: https://ultralinq.com/icardio-ai-partners-with-major-pacs-ultralinq/

Quality Control & Education

In complex cases, collaboration among specialists from different domains (radiologists, surgeons, oncologists, etc.) is often necessary. Post-processing tools enable shared access to enhanced images, annotations, and measurements, fostering a multidisciplinary approach to patient care. Cloud-based systems allow for real-time collaboration, as the changes made by one specialist can be instantly viewed by others, regardless of their location.

Medical training and education benefit greatly from the ability to manipulate images, including zooming, rotating, and applying various filters to understand the nuances of different conditions. Post-processing tools enable the creation of teaching files and presentations, which are vital resources for medical education and professional development.

As part of quality control processes, cardiologists may review echocardiographic images captured by sonographers to ensure accuracy and consistency in imaging techniques and interpretations. This is crucial for maintaining high standards of care. Reviewing images allows cardiologists to provide direct feedback to sonographers, highlighting areas for improvement or praising exceptional work. This feedback loop is essential for educational growth and maintaining a high level of competency.

If we look further, cardiologists often review echocardiographic images for inclusion in case studies or presentations, contributing to the broader medical knowledge base and continuous learning within the cardiology community. With the ongoing advancement in echocardiographic technology and techniques, cardiologists frequently re-examine images to apply new analytical methods or to reassess previous findings in light of new understanding.

UltraLinQ Post Processing

In assessing heart function, specifically the left ventricle, few measurements are more impactful than LVEF and chamber volumes. Left Ventricle Ejection Fraction, Stroke Volume, Left Ventricle End Diastolic Volume and Left Ventricle End Systolic Volume serve as crucial elements in thorough evaluations of left ventricle function, heart failure, medication plans, treatment paths and more, underscoring its widespread demand in post-processing among the PACs and cardiology communities.

By providing healthcare professionals with advanced tools and DICOM viewer to accurately and efficiently assess these critical parameters and others, UltraLinQ ensures that clinicians have access to the necessary data to make informed decisions, ultimately leading to improved patient outcomes in the management across cardiovascular disease.

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Contact us to learn more about post-processing tools in UltraLinQ, and what’s coming down the pipeline next:

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