The Beginner Guide in Medical Imaging Software Development

Vladlen Shulepov posted on Nov 23, 2021

Medical imaging is beneficial in healthcare. It provides a non-invasive examination to make treatment safer, more precise, and timely.

Since healthcare has adopted technology, data overload has become one of the biggest challenges for the industry. The number of medical images grows so fast that practitioners can’t keep up interpreting them. Academic Radiology published a study that shows that a radiologist has to process one image in three to four seconds during a workday to meet workload demands.

This article discusses the medical imaging technological perspective and critical points to consider in medical imaging software development.

Image processing software in healthcare

As the volumes of medical images grow extremely fast, healthcare providers require digital solutions to deal with data overload. The global medical imaging market size is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.2% during 2021-2028, reaching USD 28.6 billion. Key market drivers include:

Medical imaging software is in demand by many healthcare departments, as it helps to interpret the results of radiology exams. Computed tomography, thermography, magnetic resonance imaging, and echocardiography scans are widely used in cardiology, neurology, dentistry, orthopedics, breast oncology, and other healthcare branches. So, digital solutions for medical image analysis could:

  • detect an exact damaged area to deliver precise medical care,
  • find hidden abnormalities, invisible to the human eye,
  • validate diagnosis,
  • track thousands of images, sort and prioritize them,
  • facilitate management tasks.

Due to such technologies as machine learning, artificial intelligence, and big data, medical imaging software brings many benefits to the healthcare industry. Digital solutions can improve early diagnosis, minimize human errors, reduce mortality and readmission rates, boost management flow, giving clinicians more time to focus on their patients.

How to build medical imaging software

Developing medical imaging software requires thorough preparation. Developers should clearly understand what type of medical imaging they’re dealing with, assess all requirements of a healthcare provider and provide software compliance with standard regulations.

Types of medical imaging

Medical imaging is a tool for better examination of the human body. It plays a prominent role in disease diagnosis by visualizing abnormalities in patients’ organisms that are hard to notice with a human eye. Medical imaging is used for fast diagnosis, tracking disease development, treatment planning, and more. Modern medical imaging uses a detecting camera to capture the image and display it on a screen. The most used medical imaging tools include:

  • ultrasound,
  • computed tomography,
  • magnetic resonance imaging,
  • nuclear medicine imaging.

Medical imaging software can be of different types. These tools use different types of waves (sound, electromagnetic, etc.) to receive the image of other organs inside our body. All these images are handled by special software.

Critical features of medical imaging software

The medical imaging software market offers many solutions to process medical images, which differ in functionality and technical complexity. Still, there are core features that each medical imaging software should have.

These features provide better image processing and make medical imaging software efficient. Consider them when planning your medical imaging software development process.

Medical imaging software development challenges

Medical imaging software works with a significant amount of data. Handling this data brings challenges for software developers. Some of them include:

When developing your medical imaging software, think of ways to address the most common issues in advance.

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Key medical imaging standards

Besides common healthcare security standards, medical imaging software obeys data storage, sharing, and interpretation standards that regulate images directly. Below are the most common medical imaging standards:

  • Digital imaging and communications in medicine (DICOM). DICOM-established protocols are used worldwide to facilitate interoperability among IT systems that create, interpret, store and transmit medical images.
  • Health-Level-7 (HL7). HL7 is a framework that provides data integration within different data interpretation healthcare solutions.
  • Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS). PACS regulates medical images formatting to make data accessible for healthcare companies.

Future of medical imaging software

Medical imaging software helps to save a lot of lives. That is why big corporations are interested in investing in its development. Engineers use advanced technology to provide the healthcare industry with better medical image analysis and processing experience. Such technologies include AI, 3D, AR/VR, cloud computing, and more.

Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence is a crucial technology for faster and more accurate image analysis. A well-designed computer algorithm can process a large amount of data and result with precise information it was asked for. Artificial intelligence in medical imaging is applicable for:

  • Disease diagnosis. AI can detect abnormalities on scans quicker and more accurately than a human eye. It facilitates decision-making and reduces diagnosis errors. For example, in neurobiology, analyzing different parts of the brain is difficult and time-consuming. AI helps to automate this process, giving more precise results.
  • Cancer screening. Artificial intelligence can perform tumor detection, characterization, and monitoring to improve treatment planning. Based on tumor images, AI can detect malignant nodules, suggest radiation doses, and reduce the number of unnecessary biopsies.
  • Image quality improvement. Healthcare providers often give up scanning quality to get images faster, but such a tradeoff affects diagnosis accuracy. Computed algorithms can quickly improve image resolution by removing distortions, reducing noise and artifacts.

Take ProFound AI or SubtlePET solutions as an example. ProFound AI is an AI-based solution for digital breast tomosynthesis. This software helps radiologists to detect malignant lesions, assists them in clinical decision-making, and reduces workload. SubtlePET is a medical image enhancing software that uses AI to reduce noise and artifacts on images. The software eliminates the number of repeated scans which is beneficial for patients as well.

3D computer graphics

Three-dimensional images have become widespread in healthcare as they provide better abnormalities detection. Some malignant nodules can look familiar to healthy tissues. As in 2D images, they overlap, it might be challenging to distinguish problem zones. 3D graphics allow for an overview of ill organs from different angles, and if powered by AI, can significantly improve disease diagnosis and treatment planning.

Look at EchoPixel, for example. This platform takes standard medical images and transforms them into 3D models, which physicians can observe using a VR headset or 3D glasses. Such technology allows healthcare providers to reduce invasive procedures for diagnosis, give a better understanding of the health condition to a patient, and speed up the decision-making process.

Augmented reality and virtual reality

As we mentioned above, physicians use virtual reality to analyze patients’ conditions. AR/VR technology only helps with establishing a diagnosis. It is also highly applicable in surgery. Surgeons rely on scans and radiologists’ medical conclusions to perform the treatment. Virtual reality empowers surgeons with quality 3D images during the operation process. They use holographic projection on the patient’s body to find their target fast and accurately. For instance, NOVARA OpenSight AR surgeon navigation uses cameras and sensors to help practitioners see through the patient’s body and perform operations with more accuracy.

Cloud computing

Image data volumes require a lot of space to store them and considering long-term retention policies, data keeps piling up and overloads electronic systems in healthcare facilities. Despite security concerns that bother healthcare providers, cloud computing is taking over. Cloud computing provides flexible implementation and scalability. It’s also cost-effective and predictable. That’s why healthcare providers have started to apply cloud architecture. With Amazon Web Services, healthcare providers can seamlessly integrate their medical imaging workflows on the cloud and get cost-effective image storage.

Integrated software

Advanced technology isn’t easy to maintain. It also requires medical staff to be familiar with how it works. Educating employees and managing different software providers is costly and time-consuming. That’s why implementing other solutions for medical image processing, analysis, storage, and management can be a burden for healthcare providers. Integrated software allows for developing a toolkit, which includes all necessary technology to improve physicians’ work. So, if you decide to start medical imaging software development, make sure your app is open for integration with other medical software.

Our experience in medical imaging software development

Healthcare is one of the key niche expertise we have in Riseapps. We’ve developed several stable and effective healthcare solutions, which are now demanded and bring profit to their owners. We care about our products’ quality, so we carefully assess the business idea to choose a personalized tech stack to get the best outcomes for our clients. All our applications meet required security protocols such as HIPAA to protect users and business owners from cyber fraud.

InteliWound is a complex wound care delivery tool whose functionality includes wound image assessment and categorization. Our team created InteliWound based on AWS to meet our client’s requirements of scalability. The 3D scan and assessment tool uses a camera to provide wounds volumetric measurement. A custom algorithm assesses the wound and provides treatment suggestions. InteliWound is an efficient platform that addresses management and analysis tasks for wound specialists.

Thinking of medical imaging software development? Let our team help you.
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Wrapping up

Medical imaging software is in high demand. As the volume of medical content grows, practitioners require efficient tech solutions to speed up medical image processing and analysis. Medical imaging powered by AI and cloud computing gives healthcare providers tools for fast and accurate diagnosis and treatment. Medical imaging software development could be profitable for your business and bring significant results for the healthcare industry, such as lower readmission rates, increased life expectancy, and more.

FAQs


What is medical imaging software used for?

Medical imaging software is in demand by many healthcare departments, as it helps to interpret the results of radiology exams. Digital solutions for medical image analysis could:

  • detect an exact damaged area to deliver precise medical care,
  • find hidden abnormalities, invisible to the human eye,
  • validate diagnosis,
  • track thousands of images, sort and prioritize them,
  • facilitate management tasks.

What are the features of medical imaging software?

The core features that each medical imaging software should have include:

  • Quality improvement. Quality images are crucial for healthcare providers as they simplify the recognition of areas that require attention.
  • Segmentation means dividing pictures into smaller parts and grouping them by the image subject: bones, organs, tissues, tumors, etc.
  • Registration. Image registration implies combining several images into a single one.
  • 3D reconstruction 2D visualization. Images can be incorporated into a single 3D module or decomposed into 2D images to simplify anatomical orientation.

How to build medical imaging software?

Medical imaging software development requires thorough preparation. Developers should clearly understand what type of medical imaging they’re dealing with, assess all requirements of a healthcare provider and provide software compliance with standard regulations.


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