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13 March 2006 Comprehensive, powerful, efficient, intuitive: a new software framework for clinical imaging applications
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One of the greatest challenges for a software engineer is to create a complex application that is comprehensive enough to be useful to a diverse set of users, yet focused enough for individual tasks to be carried out efficiently with minimal training. This "powerful yet simple" paradox is particularly prevalent in advanced medical imaging applications. Recent research in the Biomedical Imaging Resource (BIR) at Mayo Clinic has been directed toward development of an imaging application framework that provides powerful image visualization/analysis tools in an intuitive, easy-to-use interface. It is based on two concepts very familiar to physicians - Cases and Workflows. Each case is associated with a unique patient and a specific set of routine clinical tasks, or a workflow. Each workflow is comprised of an ordered set of general-purpose modules which can be re-used for each unique workflow. Clinicians help describe and design the workflows, and then are provided with an intuitive interface to both patient data and analysis tools. Since most of the individual steps are common to many different workflows, the use of general-purpose modules reduces development time and results in applications that are consistent, stable, and robust. While the development of individual modules may reflect years of research by imaging scientists, new customized workflows based on the new modules can be developed extremely fast. If a powerful, comprehensive application is difficult to learn and complicated to use, it will be unacceptable to most clinicians. Clinical image analysis tools must be intuitive and effective or they simply will not be used.
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Kurt E. Augustine, David R. Holmes III, Dennis P. Hanson, and Richard A. Robb "Comprehensive, powerful, efficient, intuitive: a new software framework for clinical imaging applications", Proc. SPIE 6141, Medical Imaging 2006: Visualization, Image-Guided Procedures, and Display, 61410N (13 March 2006);

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