Abstract

Improved access to DICOM studies to both physicians and patients is changing the ways medical imaging studies are visualized and interpreted beyond the confines of radiologists’ PACS workstations. While radiologists are trained for viewing and image interpretation, a non-radiologist physician relies on the radiologists’ reports. Consequently, patients historically have been typically informed about their imaging findings via oral communication with their physicians, even though clinical studies have shown that patients respond to physician’s advice significantly better when the individual patients are shown their own actual data. Our previous work on automated semantic annotation of DICOM Computed Tomography (CT) images allows us to further link radiology report with the corresponding images, enabling us to bridge the gap between image data with the human interpreted textual description of the corresponding imaging studies. The mapping of radiology text is facilitated by natural language processing (NLP) based search application. When combined with our automated semantic annotation of images, it enables navigation in large DICOM studies by clicking hyperlinked text in the radiology reports. An added advantage of using semantic annotation is the ability to render the organs to their default window level setting thus eliminating another barrier to image sharing and distribution. We believe such approaches would potentially enable the consumer to have access to their imaging data and navigate them in an informed manner.