XX.1 Agent-Specific Post Processing

Many metabolic/contrast agents require more than just simple imaging to provide data for decision making. Rather than just detecting the presence or absence of the metabolic/contrast agents, calculations based on relative uptake rates, or decay rates, comparisons with previous or neighboring data, fusion of data from multiple sources or time points, etc. may be necessary to properly evaluate image data with these metabolic/contrast agents. Often the nature of this processing is closely related to the type of agent, the anatomy, and the disease process being targeted. The processing may be so specific that the general-purpose image processing features found on medical imaging workstations are inadequate to properly perform the procedure. The effective use of a particular agent for a particular procedure may depend on having properly tuned, targeted post-processing. Both the algorithms used, as well as the workflow in performing the analysis, may be customized for performing procedures with a particular agent.

The stakeholders interested in developing such agent- and exam-specific post-processing applications may have a vested interest in insuring that such post-processing applications can run on a wide variety of systems. The standard post-processing software API outlined in PS3.19 could simplify the distribution of such agent-specific analysis applications. Rather than creating multiple versions of the same application, each version targeted to a particular medical imaging vendor’s system, the application developer need only create a single version of the application, which would run on any system that implemented the standard API.

Differences in physical characteristics, acquisition technique and equipment, and user preference affect image quality and processing requirements. By allowing the sharing of applications based on device-independent (or conversely, device-specific) procedures, the Hosted Application technology will reduce these differences to a minimum.