Horos, a free open-source DICOM medical imaging viewer is available on the most recent Apple operating system OS X 10.11 or later. Your next steps upon downloading Horos should depend on the reasons you downloaded the software in the first place. Here are the most common use cases for Horos, and what you should do in each instance...
Horos for Personal Use
Patients can use Horos too. So, if you are a patient or healthcare professional who only needs to view their medical images and does not need to share them with a doctor or store them long-term, here are your steps after downloading Horos.
- Install Horos.
- Insert the media containing your images (CD, DVD, thumb drive) into your computer.
- Import the study into Horos.
- Examine the study at your leisure.
- Delete the images from your computer.
This last step is particularly important, since you don't want to keep private health information unprotected on your computer due to security concerns. Make sure that the images have been completely deleted and that the media is stored in a safe place. And if you need help figuring this all out, that’s what Horos Academy is here for. It’s Horos training by the experts. Learn at your pace, on your schedule.
Horos for Professional Use
Clinicians and others looking to use Horos in a professional setting have more complicated considerations at stake. Such topics include compliance and data security.
1. Is your Horos use in your practice appropriate from a compliance standpoint? If you work within a health care system and install a DICOM medical image viewer on your device, you need to be confident that your IT department and other stakeholders won't have an issue with you potentially storing protected health information (PHI) on your local hard drive. Using Horos in a clinical setting, especially in a diagnostic capacity, can present issues. Although, we are trying to make that a thing of the past by pursuing FDA and CE approvals.
Overall, radiologists in the United States practicing at an accredited hospital need to use software approved by the FDA. However, private practice doctors in many parts of the world who just want to use Horos to review an imaging study in the context of their patient's treatment may have fewer legal worries. If you're uncertain about how your local laws apply to your situation, it's always a good idea to consult with your legal counsel.
2. Gain access to the data that you wish to view within Horos. This either involves importing it via a CD, DVD, or thumb drive; or connecting your device to the hospital PACS environment.
3. Get acclimated with the various capabilities available to you in Horos. Experiment with altering the view using tools like magnification, contrast, window/level, invert, MIP/MPR techniques and 3D volume rendering. If you need help getting acclimated, get Horos training with Horos Academy.
4. Learn how to manage and store your imaging data properly. Horos has a local database that you can search, as well as tools that allow you to create albums based on certain shared traits and categories. Be sensitive to how you manage your local data: Encrypt your user account on your computer and enable password protection with a secure password. This will ensure that your data isn't exposed even if your device is stolen. However, if you use a cloud-based service in which images are stored online and accessed via the internet, you don't have to worry about this
5. Don't be afraid to ask for help from your colleagues, the Horos community or other experts. The field of medical imaging is hardly easy, and even those with years and years of relevant experience will encounter challenges and roadblocks. With tens of thousands of Horos users worldwide, its likely someone else has experienced the same challenges and may be able to help you in the Horos user forum. We are also always here to help with any questions you might have.
Your first steps after downloading Horos will depend on what you want to use it for. However, whether you're a medical expert, a patient or a third party, it's essential to take precautions to guard against data loss and HIPAA violations. So, make sure that any data stored locally is password-protected and encrypted, and deleted when you have no further use for it. If secure, long-term storage is what you need, however, you may want to consider integrating Horos with a cloud image management solution. And if you need more training or guidance on how to improve your efficiency with effectively using Horos, check out Horos Academy. It's training at your pace and schedule - anytime, anywhere.