As part of University of California San Francisco, UCSF Radiology
Center is a leading academic health science campus. Known for its
innovative research, outstanding education, and clinical excellence,
UCSF Radiology is consistently ranked among the top six institutions
in the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Located in Northern California, UCSF Radiology is both a medical
school and working hospital. First opening its doors in 1906, UCSF
Radiology performs more than 250,000 exams per year.
Recently, UCSF Radiology upgraded its Picture, Archive, and Communication
System (PACS). The PACS at UCSF incorporates the radiology and hospital
information systems to create an intelligent, integrated patient
system. At the core of the PACS are Sun Enterprise servers
running Agfa Impax software and DISC NearLine Storage Systems.
The DISC & Sun solution
UCSF Radiologys goal is to always have timely access to digital
imagery and patient information. In order to interconnect its database,
digital voice dictation system, electronic mail, library information
system, and various medical centers, UCSF Radiology needed an open
architecture and standardized computer network.
DISC & Sun have been providing leading-edge technology to the
medical-imaging industry for more than a decade. So its no
wonder UCSF Radiology selected them for the core of its infrastructure.
Ive been working with DISC & Sun systems for more
than 11 years. Together, DISC & Sun consistently have strong
products that work well in clinically intensive environments. We
do a lot of UNIX® tasks, and our core systems need to have multiprocessing
and multithreading capabilities. At this point, Sun seems to be
the leader in the market, says Todd Bazzill, Computing Resource
Manager at UCSF Medical Center, Laboratory for Radiological Informatics.
UCSF Radiology is using four Sun Enterprise 450 servers for its
central server, running with UltraSPARC® II processors and four
gigabytes of memory per station. For its central Oracle database
server, UCSF chose the Sun Enterprise 5500 server for its high performance
and outstanding reliability. The current Solaris Operating
Environment meets UCSFs multithreading and multitasking needs,
although plans include an update to the Solaris 8 Operating Environment
in the near future.
For the storage portion of its PACS infrastructure, UCSF Radiology
is using two DISC NearLine Storage Systems. The DISC libraries act
as an archive system that stores digital images from multiple sources.
Capable of storing up to 18 terabytes of information, the DISC system
stores all the universitys medical images from the past nine
With the upgraded PACS, we can take all the digital images
from every digital modality (CTs, MRIs, CRs, ultrasounds, nuclear
medicine, mammographies) and send them to our central servers (Sun
Enterprise servers). Then, the studies are sent to our archive and
Web servers as well as being available to retrieve from and displayed
at any of our Diagnostic Review Stations, explains Bazzill.
How it works
The digital image is transferred from the diagnostic modality (CTs,
CRs, MRIs, or ultrasounds) to a Sun Enterprise 450 server, which
acts as a gateway. The gateway communicates with a device called
a Broker. The information is then sent to the central cache (the
Sun Enterprise 450 servers), which allows the display systems to
retrieve and view the images on high-resolution monitors located
throughout each medical facility. The information is also sent to
UCSFs Web servers so it is available worldwide through a secure
intranet. In addition, the image is sent to an archive server (Sun
Enterprise 250 server) and is stored to the DISC NearLine
Storage System. The DISC libraries archive older files as new ones
are created, ensuring that complete patient records are continuously
Working with leading medical-imaging equipment manufacturers, DISC
and Sun provide the platform for next-generation diagnostic imaging
to help deliver a higher level of patient care across the globe.