Software organizes images

If keeping track of 35mm slides isn`t challenging enough, try organizing photographs, video prints from the intraoral camera and digitized images stored on your computer.

Steven M. Seltzer, MBA

If keeping track of 35mm slides isn`t challenging enough, try organizing photographs, video prints from the intraoral camera and digitized images stored on your computer.

In a perfect world, images are organized in a computerized database and viewable by asking for images that meet certain criteria. You can mix and match criteria, which may include the patient`s name, age, sex, date taken, case type, pre-op vs. post-op, quadrant, materials, etc. In a

perfect world, images are electronically "attached" to the patient`s chart by the software that makes locating them for a specific patient as easy as looking in the electronic chart and pressing a button.

While the perfect world has not arrived in most offices, there are several exciting, inexpensive image management solutions available. This column is about Microsoft Picture It! 2.0, a $59 software program that manages digital images. I am going to zero in on a few of the key features in this exciting new product. A 30-day trial version of Microsoft Picture It! 2.0 is available on Seltzer Institute`s Dentists` Desktop Reference to Technology CD-ROM.

When you select a directory (folder) on the computer, Picture It! immediately searches the directory for any image files and displays thumbnails (miniature images) of the images on the screen. The images can include those you captured with an intraoral camera, a digital still camera or scanned images. Picture It! supports all popular image-file formats. You can select images from the thumbnails for viewing full screen. The photo above shows thumbnail images.

For example, you can create a folder with the patient`s name and store the patient`s images in the folder. When you tell Picture It! to open images in that folder, it automatically displays thumbnails of the patient`s images. Drag the images you want to view to the filmstrip at the bottom of the screen, click on "open," and all the images are displayed in the viewing area. This is a simple way to keep images organized if you do not have this feature in your dental software.

If you have many images and are storing them on CD-ROMs, Picture It! will store thumbnails of hundreds or thousands of images on the CD-ROMs on your hard drive for easy access. This is like having a visual "card catalog" of images. When you select an image, the software prompts you to insert the appropriate CD-ROM and displays the image full-screen. Instead of going to the stacks in the library to locate the item in the card catalog, you plug in the CD-ROM that the software prompts you to insert. Now you literally can keep a record of every image you have ever captured organized, stored, and it is easy to retrieve in seconds.

Another slick feature is having the ability to create "wallpaper" from any image or collage of images. This wallpaper is the background displayed in Windows 95. Select your favorite images for marketing and instantly make wallpaper that promotes procedures in your practice.

If you are looking for a simple way to manage images in your practice, Picture It! 2.0 may be perfect for your needs. It works best on a fast computer with lots of RAM. We recommend a Pentium 133Mhz or faster computer with at least 16MB RAM.

Steven Seltzer is the president of Seltzer Institute and publisher of DDRT (Dentists` Desktop Reference to Technology). The Seltzer Institute offers techno-marketing consulting services. He can be contacted at (800) 229-8967, ext 103. E-mail: sseltzer@hitecdentist.com. Internet: www.hitecdentist.com.

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