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NMLC Provides PACS System for NICoE
FORT DETRICK, Md. - (L-R, standing) Naval Medical
Logistics Command Picture Archiving Communication
System (PACS) team members Walter Sandman,
Mike Fortier, Ed Doorn, Senior Chief NMCS David
Ludwig, and (seated) Greg Moser, working on the
functionality aspect of acceptance testing at the
National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE).
In the background is the new, 64-slice, state-of-the-art,
PET/CT scanner,located in the NICoE on the campus
of the National Navel Medical Center, Bethesda, Md.
(U.S. Navy photo by Sheila A. Gorman, NMLC
Public Affairs/Released)
Navy Medicine Logistics Command Provides PACS System for NICoE

By Sheila A. Gorman, NMLC Public Affairs Officer

A request for a Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) in March 2009 brought Naval Medical Logistics Command (NMLC) at Fort Detrick, Md., together with the most advanced center for traumatic brain injury and psychological health in the world, the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) for Traumatic Brain Injury and Psychological Health in Bethesda, Md.   

Located on the campus of the National Naval Medical Center, NICoE required a PACS sophisticated enough to handle the clinical and research image management of the Center. The NMLC PACS office took on this task, overseeing the installation of a 16 terabyte PACS with capacity to expand.   

PACS is a combination of hardware and software dedicated to short- and long-term storage, retrieval, management, distribution and presentation of images.

NMLC PACS Office Program Manager, Ed Doorn, said working with new systems in a new building contributed positively to the effort. 

“A lot of times we have to fumble with older systems to get them to integrate with the PACS,” Doorn said. “In this case, these are all brand new systems, so the integration was very smooth. We had no experience with the new MEG scanner; we had to do some research to see how it would integrate with the PACS.”   

The Elekta Neuromag ® MEG (magnetoencephalography) scanner-provides real-time mapping of brain activity and is one of only nine in clinical use in the United States today. 

An unusual aspect of the PACS installation was the patient scheduling system. NICoE uses a holistic approach and treats the entire family, not just the patient.  A system that could provide a concierge-type service to schedule the family was needed. The PACS vendor supporting the NICoE mission found a way to support such a service and incorporate it into the installation.

One challenge was the need for clinical and research collection data.  Doorn explained that research data is shared between research partners and remains anonymous while clinical data, along with patient demographics, is needed to follow a patient through lifelong treatment. The system had to be able to split and route the data in two directions while maintaining the integrity of each. 

The final acceptance testing of the equipment will be conducted by the PACS Team in September.   

“We do this in several phases,” said Doorn. “We do the initial connection and testing and have all the different systems send images.  We make sure the PACS handles the data correctly and can be viewed in a good clinical format. As we add external connections, we go back and test again.”

Besides the digital images, the PACS Team tests the calibration of the monitors for accuracy and that the demographic data that is associated with each patient is transferring properly.   

“Our goal was to meet every single deadline we had for this system and we did that,” said Doorn.

The 72,000 square foot center was built entirely with private donations by the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and is dedicated to the research, diagnosis and treatment of military personnel and veteran’s suffering from traumatic brain injury (TBI) and psychological health issues.