Softwares

Radiology softwares :

OsiriX logo

As a radiologists one needs to be at least a little tech savvy. I am compiling a list of Radiology Softwares that are useful for reporting.

Dicom Viewers:

  • Osirix:

    • Best dicom software available for image interpretation and processing.
    • Unfortunately only available for the Mac os and is a paid software.
    • Best viewed on 21.5/27 inch iMac systems.  Here is a link to the iMac configurations available at Amazon India Mac Mini on Amazon.
    • A good alternative for radiology centres who cannot afford the iMac PC are these small mac minis. These are standalone CPU boxes , to which you can attach a monitor and ports. Mac Mini on Amazon.
    • Osirix is available as a bundled solution with iMacs. You can contact Indian vendors like this one.
    • Excellent tutorials for using Osirix are available here: Osirix UK user group.
    • You can download the free version of Osirix which is sufficient for basic viewing and processing. It has a nagging pop-up at the start, but its free so that is fine. Download Osirix Lite
  • Horos:

    • Free alternative for Osirix.
    • Almost identical to the Osirix interface.
    • Higher functions like processing of images are not available.
    • Best for government institutes where most of the processing is done on the consoles.
    • Download it for free here: Download Horos Project.
  • Radiant viewer

    • Best dicom viewer for windows PC.
    • Free for use.
    • Does not have a lot of functions as that of Osirix/ Horos but it is a good dicom viewer.
    • Good viewer if you want to edit and extract images for your thesis / research paper from dicom images.
    • Handy to read images from CDs got by patients from other institutions.
    • Download it here: Download Radiant viewer.
    • You can also download the portable version which can be run from a USB/ local disc. This is useful for institutes where installation of programs is blocked by the IT department. Download portable Radiant viewer.
  • MicroDicom viewer

    • Another free dicom viewer for Windows.
    • Interface is more clunky as compared to Radiant viewer.
    • Advantage over Radiant viewer is that you can load multiple studies at one time.
    • A good tool if you want to conduct a teaching course using dicom image sets on a windows computer.
    • Has a portable USB version as well.
    • Download it here: Download Micro Dicom viewer.

Radiology Cafe has reviewed these softwares here: Dicom viewers review

Reporting tools :

Radiology reporting at almost all institutes is done on computers. Typing is often a nightmare for first year radiology residents. There is no escaping this so the best way is to find solutions.

The more time to save time on reporting the more time you have to read.

I am listing a few hacks that helped me to get this done. More suggestions are welcome!

Word processors

  • Microsoft Word

    • Needs no introduction.
    • Best word processing software for reporting.
    • One should learn basic hacks to cut down typing times. One of the best tool you can use is the AutoCorrect tool. You can save normal/ abnormal CT/MR/USG/Radiograph formats as shortcuts. For eg I have saved a normal CT abdomen male study as a “nabdmale”. When I type the shortcut the entire normal template (with the formatting) will show up. Click here for a video tutorial.In older versions you can also use the AutoComplete feature.
    • No free version available, takes lot of space at times and slows the system at times.
  • Free alternatives to Word:

    • Google Docs:

      • If you work in a department with internet connectivity this is the best option.
      • You don’t need to worry about data loss as Google automatically saves your edits online.
      • It also so stores multiple versions of your documents so that you can go back to the previous version in case you want to.
      • Also you can access it from multiple PCs as the documents are synced on the web platform.
    • OpenOffice.org

      • Free alternative to MS Office.
      • Includes a free alternative to word,  powerpoint and excel.
      • You should save documents in the MS office formats (doc/ ppt / xls) to avoid conflicts while using it on other systems.
      • Download it for free here: Download Open Office.
      • Similar alternatives include:
    • AbiWord

      • Standalone word processor.
      • No need to install the entire MS Office / OpenOffice suite.
      • Small program so won’t take up a lot of space.
      • Download it here. AbiWord
    • PhaseExpress

      • This is not a word processing software but its an alternative to the AutoCorrect/ AutoText option of MS Word that we discussed.
      • Especially useful for radiology residents working in institutes with an online reporting system where the typing has to be done in a browser rather than a word processor.
      • You can store your desired templates which will get triggered as you type the designated shortcuts. For eg You can store the format for acute pancreatitis as a short code “AP”. So when you type the short code the entire report will come up and you can then edit the specific findings in your particular case in the template.
      • Quite handy and saves a lot of time.
      • Works in word as well.
      • Another cool thing is that you can export the shortcuts that you have saved and then import the same in other computers in your department as well.
      • Here is a video tutorial: Phase Express Video tutorial
      • Download it here: Download PhaseExpress
      • They even have a portable version which you can use without installing : Download PhaseExpress Portable.

 

Presentations:

  • Power-point

    • Its the go-to tool for presentations.
    • As a part of residency you will be expected to make a lot of presentations and seminars. You should make your presentations instead of copying and pasting them from SlideShare or from your seniors. Once you make the presentation, not only will you understand the topic thoroughly, but you will also get used to powerpoint.
    • Some tips about working with powerpoint
      • More images and less of text.
      • Keep the layout and background simple.
      • Avoid animations. They are distracting.
      • ALWAYS use spell check before you present.
      • Use source images and avoid images clicked with your camera.
      • ALWAYS hide the identity of the patient.
      • Crop and enlarge images appropriately maintaining their aspect ratio. DO NOT stretch the images disproportionately. When you want to enlarge an image pull it from one of the corners and not from the sides / top to maintain the aspect ratio.
      • Power-point is an excellent tool for editing and rearranging images for writing your thesis or articles. If you wish to make a collage of images (like a MR study with images of multiple sequences) , you can arrange all the images together, label them and then select all of them and save it as a single picture.
      • Read more about power point skills here, here and here.

 

Word to text softwares

  • Nuance Dragon Medical Practice Edition.

  • Google Keyboard.

    • A free alternative to costly speech to text softwares.
    • Simply use the speech to text feature on the Google keyboard in your smartphone.

 

Miscellaneous

  • IndexYourFiles (IFY)

    • Most of the radiology departments in India do not have EMR (Electronic Medical Records) currently. Radiology reports are usually saved in Word format , segregated month wise and modality wise. Often you need to find the previous report of a patient who has now come for a follow up. Doing that using the search function of Windows can be a pain if there are thousands of documents , which is usually the case for most radiology departments.
    • Soultion? – IndexYourFiles (IFY)!
    • What it does is index all the files in a particular directory and fastens the search process.
    • It also support network shared drives. For eg. You can search for CT records of the patient from the MRI reporting computer , provided the folders are shared.
    • Its a small but quite handy software and saves a lot of time.
    • Whats good is that it even comes in a portable version so no need to install it.
    • Click here for a demo.
    • Click here to download.

I have tried to list all the essential softwares for radiology. If you have any suggestions do contact me here.