Making the PACS workstation a browser of image processing software: A feasibility study using inter-process communication techniques
Purpose To enhance the functional expandability of a picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) workstation and to facilitate the integration of third-part image-processing modules, we propose a browser-server style method. Methods In the proposed solution, the PACS workstation shows the front-end user interface defined in an XML file while the image processing software is running in the background as a server. Inter-process communication (IPC) techniques allow an efficient exchange of image data, parameters, and user input between the PACS workstation and stand-alone image-processing software. Using a predefined communication protocol, the PACS workstation developer or image processing software developer does not need detailed information about the other system, but will still be able to achieve seamless integration between the two systems and the IPC procedure is totally transparent to the final user. Results A browser-server style solution was built between OsiriX (PACS workstation software) and MeVisLab (Image-Processing Software). Ten example image-processing modules were easily added to OsiriX by converting existing MeVisLab image processing networks. Image data transfer using shared memory added <10 ms of processing time while the other IPC methods cost 1-5 s in our experiments. Conclusion The browser-server style communication based on IPC techniques is an appealing method that allows PACS workstation developers and image processing software developers to cooperate while focusing on different interests.