Web based medical image viewers should be fast, flexible, and accessible for diagnostic use
Do you know what a "zero footprint client" is? Doesn't sound too sexy, does it? While many recognize the term, it has become vague as to exactly how it helps doctors and care providers view medical images. What if I told you that you could view diagnostic quality images in 3D, use analysis and reporting tools, and collaborate with other doctors all from a web browser without downloading any software or patient information? That is a "zero footprint client."
In this blog post, I’ll try to debunk the term and provide a good definition of what it really means and important considerations you should make when evaluating “zero footprint” access to your medical imaging studies.
The term “zero footprint” fundamentally means that there is no additional software to download in order to use the medical imaging viewer. All that should be required is a modern web browser, and perhaps a common support application like Adobe Flash Player. Traditional web-based medical imaging viewers required lots of software to be installed including .NET, Java or in some cases a proprietary installer. In many cases, institutional firewalls and security policies prevent these applications from being installed leaving your doctors or referring physicians in the dark without access to important clinical data.
- “Diagnostic quality” doesn’t mean FDA approved. Keep your eyes out for zero footprint viewers that claim to be diagnostic quality, but don’t have the FDA or CE mark. At Purview, we believe best practice includes FDA approval for primary diagnosis. Our zero-footprint client has undergone the scrutiny of the FDA’s approval process, and can be used by radiologists for primary interpretation. As our society becomes more litigious and healthcare providers are constantly under the microscope, look for FDA approved applications.
- HTML5 isn’t always the answer. HTML5 is a new web technology used to build web-based applications. Where traditionally we needed software like Java or .NET to deliver a medical image viewer over the Internet, this software can now be built with HTML5. The issue? Most institutions and organizations don’t use browsers that fully support this new technology.
- Native apps for your devices. The beauty of a zero footprint client is that it isn’t just accessible in your web-browser, but also on your devices. If you're like me, you probably have one of each. Purview’s zero footprint client is not only available in the browser; we have support for Windows, iOS and Android devices as well. Our app is available in the respective stores.