JnJ Software:

SendToDicom ScreenCaps



JnJ SendToDicom
license = $200 DOWNLOAD

(CheapWare pricing to cover development and web distribution expenses)
Unlicensed demo mode allows multiple 7-minute testing sessions.
Try it - I am sure you will find it to be a valuable and effective solution.
SendToDicom
Allows standard format images to be easily added as DICOM images to a specified Patient Study on a PACS or workstation.

These standard images can be input in either of three ways:

  • Previously created images can be loaded from disk.
  • SendToDicom can control a TWAIN-compatible scanner so document pages can be directly scanned in.
  • SendToDicom can be used to capture parts or all of what is showing on the computer screen.
To make useful DICOM images, quite a bit of Study and Patient information has to be entered. SendToDicom makes it easy to add this information by DICOM browsing and identifying the corresponding Patient and Study for the images. Alternatively, this information can be manually entered into a form.

SendToDicom knows many different standard image formats and can convert the images into standard DICOM formats. The resulting DICOM images can be directly sent to a DICOM workstation or PACS, or can be saved as disk files.



Status
Released for Public use 061214
Current version 3.1.2 (Release Notes)
Under node-locked license control but allows 7 min Demo Mode use.
Under continuing development - check back for updates
Short Description
There are many circumstances when it is useful to add additional non-DICOM image and document information to an existing DICOM Patient Study. SendToDicom makes it easy and efficient to convert images into DICOM formats, add identifying information, and send them to a workstation or PACS in such a way that they will be added to the desired Study as a separate new Series.

Standard computer images can be converted into DICOM formats, but the most painful part is entering all of the patient identification information requried by DICOM. In addition to basic Patient Name/ID/Sex/etc, some of this required information consists of ugly and hard-to-type unique identifier (UID) strings such as "2.16.840.1.113662.4.8796817847189.917294394.1019773982178391494". These long strings are what is used in DICOM to organize and group images into the Patient/Study/Series/Images tree.

This software has been designed to make these three steps very efficient:

  • Obtain images of the information to be converted and sent.
  • Add the desired and required identifying information.
  • Send the converted images to the desired DICOM destination.
INPUT IMAGES:
#1: Images on Disk
Images in these formats can be loaded from disk: BMP, JPG, GIF, TIF, WMF, PNG, EMF, ICO.
#2: Scanned Pages:
SendToDicom can control a locally attached (e.g., flat-bed) scanner as long as it is TWAIN-compliant. This also includes scanners with multi-page document feeders. SendToDicom will start the scanner's provided user interface to set the image acquisition parameters and actually scan the page. These pages are handed back to SendToDicom so they can be converted and sent.
#3: Screen Captures:
SendToDicom can be used to make images from parts of the currently visible screen. This can be done in either of three ways:
#1 - A region of the screen can be swept out and captured - click at the top left corner and hold/drag out the desired box on the screen.
#2 - A specific window or subwindow can be selected by clicking on it. Note that windows are often made up of subwindows so selected regions of the screen can be captured.
#3 - The entire desktop window can be captured at once. SendToDicom multiple monitor support is not yet finished, and when asked most computers just return the screen of the Windows primary monitor. There are not likely to be many situations where a big image of the entire multiple-monitor set is desired, but work is being done on correctly handling all the various possible monitor configurations and resolutions.

ADD REQUIRED IDENTIFYING INFORMATION:
The software groups all the input images and combines them into a single new series in the selected study.
#1: DICOM Querying:
Via a DICOM query interface, the user selects the desired target patient study on any workstation/PACS system across the network. By default the PACS system queried will be where the converted images are sent. This can be changed so that the now-identified images can be sent to a different DICOM destination. Information about known DICOM Query/Receive systems is easily constructed and maintained.
#2: Manual Entry
The required information can be manually attached to the images by typing it into a form window. This form window can also be used to see or edit the information details obtained by querying. While this form tries to make it easy and efficient to fill in the information, most often you will be identifying an existing Patient and Study rather than making one up for the images.

CONVERT AND SEND THE IMAGES:
#1: Conversion
The DICOM standard is quite flexible and provides formats that correspond to most standard non-DICOM image formats. However, most PACS systems and/or medical viewing software do not correctly handle color DICOM images - especially indexed-color. "Indexed" color images that use look-up tables to keep track of colors are very popular in the non-medical world - GIF for example. Therefore SendToDicom allows conversion of the input color images into either DICOM grayscale or color formats that tend to be more widely supported by vendors.
The user can specify that the output DICOM image be:

  • Not converted - keeping the original (indexed etc) format as scanned.
  • Converted to a simple 8-bit grayscale image. Colors are mapped to grayscale intensities using a standard formula.
  • Converted to a simple 24-bit (8 each for RGB) pixel-interleaved RGB color image.
SendToDicom converts the images into DICOM "Secondary Capture" images - labelled with the corresponding modality code "OT" - which are grouped into a single new DICOM "OT" Series for the specified Patient. The images should also contain a code describing the original modality type of the Study that contains the new Series. Since some PACS/workstations do not correctly return the modality type of Studies that contain series of different modalities (e.g., a NM study with both NM and OT series), this Study modality code should be checked and/or changed.

#2: Sending
By default the destination for the converted images will be the same system where the identification information was queried and selected. This can be changed to allow sending to a different DICOM destination - such as when a PACS has a different address for querying and for receiving. SendToDicom images will be added as new series number 99 in the target Study. During querying it will check if there is an existing series 99 and if so, it will use the next highest available number. NOTE - if you send the images to a different destination from the one used for querying, it is possible that this destination may have a series with that number.

Most DICOM workstations and PACS have basic security that uses both the network IP address and the DICOM name ("AE Title") of the computer querying it or sending it images. The DICOM name for the system should be entered into SendToDicom (and set as default) so the correct/authorized name is used when SendToDIcom talks to other DICOM systems. That other system likely needs to know your computer's name and address so they can be added to its permissions lists - give it to your PACS administrator.

The converted images can also be saved to the local computer's disk if desired.

Limitations
GENERAL ISSUES:
Developed and tested for Windows2000 and WindowsXP, only limited testing on other platforms.

This software is license controlled but allows a 7 minute Demo Mode for testing/evaluation without having to be registered. First-use registration requires user privileges sufficient to modify the Windows Registry.

SPECIFIC ISSUES:
DICOM Query/Retrieve
DICOM compliance for remote querying is highly variable across different vendors. In particular, there are noticeable differences in the information returned, with some not providing answers for all the query questions. For example, some systems do not return the Study or Series description information, or the number of images in the series. There are also differences in how the query questions can be asked - especially when using or needing a wildcard character (e.g. "*") for query matching. I have tried to construct generic queries that will be generally supported.
Scanner Control
The ability to control most scanners using TWAIN has been extensively tested and is quite robust. However, I am always amazed at how inconsistent and non-standard-complient some vendor's TWAIN drivers are.

I am working on implementing the newer WIA mechanisms for controlling scanners. However, WIA drivers generally provide a backward-compatible TWAIN emulation mode that can be be used by SendToDicom.
Help Files
You will quickly notice that the documentation and help files are virtually nonexistent. This is being addressed as time permits.

Installation
Currently is facilitated by an InstallShield installer setup wizard.
To begin the installation process download the zip file and then run the setup wizard, setup.zip

Licenses are easily obtained using secure online credit card payment (we are currently using a PayPal service), and are good for upcoming versions/releases. It is possible that some future total-rewrite (major version change) may require a new license. Detailed licensing information can be found at: Software Licensing

Bugs
(Whattaya mean bugs?)
PLEASE send any comments about difficulties/bugs/desired features and I will try to incorporate them.
Bug Reports
Detailed Instructions
Configuring a DICOM connection: Configuring any DICOM connection is quite easy.

You need this information about the remote DICOM workstation/PACS you want to communicate with:

  • Network IP address: (e.g., 192.168.2.25)
  • Computer Port = number where the PACS software is set to listen for incoming DICOM calls: (e.g, 4006)
  • DICOM AET = Application Entity Title of the PACS software = the DICOM name of the PACS receiver: (e.g. REMOTE_NAME)
Using a telephone analogy, you need the phone number, the office extension number, and the name of the person to ask for.

You will need some information about the local computer running SendToDicom:

  • The Network IP address for the local
  • A suitable name to use for the DICOM AET of the local system: (e.g. LOCAL_NAME).
Note that if your computer is already running other DICOM software (EFilm, etc) the local AET may have already been chosen, and the remote PACS system may have already been told about your computer.

Most likely you will have to exchange some information with the administrator of the remote workstation/PACS. Most workstations/PACS systems have some security mechanisms so that they only answer DICOM calls from computers they already know about. Therefore, you will need to talk to the PACS administrator to have them update their lists of allowed systems to include your computer. They will have to add your local computer’s network IP address and DICOM AET to the list.

Use the information above about the remote workstation/PACS to configure SendToDicom.

SendToDicom keeps its list of known PACS in a simple list-file mechanism that is easy to update. I have provided a default example file that shows how it works.

  • Simply load any image from disk so the “Identify Patient Study” button becomes enabled.
  • When you click this button, the DICOM query (patient study selection) dialog window comes up.
  • In the top left corner is where the remote query target system is identified and/or changed.
  • Click the “Select System” button to bring up the interface showing the current list of known DICOM target systems.
  • The list is organized by "Location", with systems for the location listed by "Description".
  • To add a new system, click the "Add" button at the top and fill in the form.
  • You can test communications with the selected system but hitting the "Echo" button.
  • Highlight the desired remote target system and hit the "Select/OK" button to return to the query window.
  • Hit the "Set as Default" button to, yes, set that target as the default so it is selected the next time the software runs.
On the query form you should also set the local computer's AET Title, and set it as the default. As SendToDicom only makes outgoing DICOM calls, you do not need to set the Local Port number.

Again using the telephone analogy.... you have set the software so that when you "Query" or "Echo", it knows the remote number, extension, and name to ask for. The local AET is so you can dial up the number and say (in DICOM) for example, "I am LOCAL_NAME calling for REMOTE_NAME". The security on some PACS is like caller-ID where it may not pick up if it does not know the caller.

The messages box gives status information. In case of communications problems (or just for insight into how DICOM works) you can start showing a full log of events by hitting the "Verbose Loggin START" button.

To help maintain the DICOM targets list, and allow for import and export from tab/comma-delimited text files, please see the DicomTargets application on the website: DicomTargets

Usage Notes: You must highlight the desired Study and hit the "Select" button on the Query dialog to actually select the target study.

Copyright 2012, JnJ Associates LLC