Many educational courses have been designed for training radiologists and allied healthcare providers to operate PACS workstations. There are yet tools available for educational training of PACS concepts and workflow analysis. We have designed and implemented a RIS/PACS Simulator for this purpose. The RIS/PACS Simulator consists of six key components simulating a typical clinical RIS/PACS: RIS simulator, acquisition modality Simulator (AMS), DICOM gateway, PACS controller (UNIX-based), clinical viewing workstation, and network infrastructure with a 100 mbits/sec Ethernet switch connecting to all these components. A generic RIS and a generic DICOM compliant PACS software package are used to simulate normal clinical data flow. Using this simulator, trainees can:
1. Observe clinical RIS/PACS operation, component by component
2. Trace image flow through each component
3. Identify PACS data flow bottle neck,
4. Induce failure in a component to observe its impact on the PACS workflow and operation.
The Simulator has been successfully installed in three sites, IPI Laboratory, USC, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and Taiwan Chang Gung University, for PACS training courses.