iPad app enables touch control of PACS workstation

Monday, December 1 | 9:05 a.m.-9:15 a.m. | VSIN21-02 | Room E352
A Stanford team will present an app that allows users to bypass the mouse on a PACS workstation and navigate imaging studies via the touchscreen of their iPad.

Frustrated with the interface of PACS workstations and the need to click and move the mouse repeatedly for even simple tasks, the researchers sought to find a better way to operate a PACS workstation.

The mouse was designed decades ago and isn't really well-suited to many radiology tasks, said presenter and radiology resident Dr. Gabriel Howles-Banerji, PhD.

"For example, scrolling through thin-slice CT angiography studies is painful and cumbersome," he told AuntMinnie.com. "Either your finger gets fatigued by constantly spinning the mouse's scroll wheel, or you have this awkward process of repeatedly dragging the mouse off the bottom of the desk. Moreover, I had several colleagues develop repetitive stress injuries related to using the mouse."

As a result, the team developed an iPad app that provides touch controls for operating the PACS workstation. It communicates wirelessly with the PACS and doesn't require any modifications to the commercial PACS software.

"Based on our experience building this prototype, we think touch-based interfaces can make interacting with the PACS workstation more efficient and less cumbersome," Howles-Banerji said.

"Intuitive and delightful controls require nuanced design and careful tuning," he said. "While touch interfaces have huge potential, they are not intrinsically better than the mouse. A poorly designed touch interface may be as bad or worse than using a mouse."

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