As you may be aware, positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) combines both of these imaging modalities into one system, allowing the images from each to be taken sequentially.
Although PET-CT imaging has revolutionized diagnostic medicine, cost and logistics have proven to be problematic; not only is the combined system quite expensive, the radioactive drugs required for this type of imaging are also costly and have a short shelf-life. The DICOM format and teleradiology has mitigated these issues somewhat, making it possible to disseminate such images over an intranet as well as the World Wide Web.
Ideally, a PET-CT viewer allows for display of the fused image while allowing the user to control blending and create a three-dimensional reconstruction of the subject. Flexibility is also important. In addition to a full set of image editing and manipulation software tools and and various import/export options, the viewer should be compatible with legacy systems, including non-DICOM protocols and file formats. Some of the tools to look for include:
• point location
User friendliness is another important factor to consider. Drag-and-drop function as well as set-up wizards can greatly cut down on the amount of time required to learn a new system.
Because patient confidentiality is an important issue, the PET-CT viewer should have strong security features as well. In addition to password login and authentication, the system should include:
• web page timeout
• anonymizer feature
• privilege and query parameters
• SSL security (at least 128-bit)
This list of features is by no means exhaustive; because such a system represents a considerable investment, some due diligence is required. PET-CT viewers are manufactured by several different companies, and not all of them offer the same tools and features. It will be up to you to determine which PET-CT Viewers will best serve the needs of your particular health care operation.