ClearCanvas Workstation was first deployed at St. Michael's Hospital in April 2008 to address a need brought forth by the mammography division. The dilemma was to provide mammography technologists with easy access to review prior mammography images without using the hospital's webpacs. The option of purchasing 5 vendor review workstations was not available due to budgetary constraints. What was needed was a simple, powerful, easy to use DICOM image viewer that could be deployed on standard hospital PCs and work with the existing PACS architecture. Enter ClearCanvas Workstation!! ClearCanvas 1.0 was packaged by the ICT department into a Novell Application Object Template (AOT) which allowed the software to be remotely deployed and configured on any domain PC in the organization with ease. The initial deployment of 5 ClearCanvas workstations in mammography was an instant success and users easily learned how to use the program and quickly integrated it into their workflow. Since April 2008, ClearCanvas workstation has been deployed in the ER department for nurse practitioners assessing patients as well as the Division of Urology, where ClearCanvas workstation has been deployed in consult rooms, research offices, physician offices and urological surgical suites. To date, St. Michael's Hospital has 28 ClearCanvas Workstations deployed throughout the enterprise and users are very satisfied with the quality and ease of use of the product.
ClearCanvas Server has also addressed a very important issue at St. Michael's Hospital. The CT division had been looking for ways to keep a couple months cache of all CT axial data being generated on 3 CT scanners as a failsafe. Normally, modalities have a fixed HD that purges cases every couple of days. The vendor solution was to purchase a larger HD at a premium cost or use MOD disks, which would add significant time and workload pressures onto technologists already working in a busy clinical setting. To avoid high costs and workflow inefficiencies, the solution presented was to deploy ClearCanvas Server on a standard inexpensive server running SQL Express with a decent amount of HD space (1.5TB) and have the CT scanners configured to automatically send axial datasets in the background without technologist intervention. Since December 2008, over 4,500 CT studies have been stored on the ClearCanvas Server without incident and, on more than one occasion, data has been retrieved from ClearCanvas Server back to PACS after studies originally sent to PACS had become corrupted. In this case, ClearCanvas Server has provided inexpensive and powerful backup capabilities to maintain patient data redundancy.
Overall, the ClearCanvas team has put together an amazing suite of software and I look forward to the continued development of powerful, quality products from ClearCanvas.
St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto