Friday, August 24, 2012

Creating a virtual RIS/PACS test environment

When troubleshooting, testing, and validating a connection between devices that use the DICOM and/or HL7 protocol, it is important to have access to both test transactions, test objects such as documents and images, and simulators. Each component can be replaced by a virtual simulator, including a test RIS, modality worklist provider, modality, archive, viewer and report generator, which have very detailed logging and sometimes even validation capabilities. I am convinced that with these simulators, combined with additional stand-alone validators, such as those used to validate a DICOM image header, and a sniffer to troubleshoot problems that are semi-random, you can identify any problem that might occur during system integration.

Most of these simulators are available in the public domain, and are relatively easy to install. Learning how to use them and practicing error scenarios is strongly recommended so you can resolve problems as they occur. Many healthcare IT and imaging professionals have learned to use these tools the hard way, i.e. on the job. An easier and more effective way is to take a training class as provided by OTech. Taking this class will not only speed up the learning process but also provide you with many test transactions, images, and scenarios and with all the tools that allow you to create the virtual test environment, which by itself is worth the price of attending the class. For more information, visit our the information at our website about this hands-on seminar. If a face-to-face class is not for you, you can always visit the otechinc youtube channel, which has several “tools and tricks of the trade” videos on how to use these tools as we would use them in our seminars.