Hi, I'm Tom Warfel. Thanks for dropping by.
Salient facts about me. I
- - recently completely Board certification in Radiology!
- - am presently doing a fellowship year at UPMC that is
50% Thoracic Imaging, 50% Radiology Informatics
Presently looking at issues in radiology reporting:
- In the old days, stacks of films would arrive in the reading rooms with
"requisition forms" paper clipped to each study. Each requisition form would have a barcode printed that uniquely identified the study in the RIS
(radiology information system). The films would be hung on a viewbox,
and the study dictated by swiping barcode reader attached to a
telephone-based dictation system, then dictating into the handset.
Using a barcode instead of pressing digits reduced manual data entry
time and errors. Exams would be human transcribed within 24 hrs, and
signed/FAXed within 48 hrs.
- At present, we have "PACS" (Picture Archive and Communication Systems)
that allow instant electronic distribution of radiologic studies to both
clinician offices and radiology reading rooms. Furthermore, we can funnel
data from physically remote outpatient imaging centers to central reading
rooms. As a result, volume of studies being read is increasing. At the
same time, clinicians are now getting the study images in their offices
within moments after the patient leaves the scanner. They are no longer
willing to wait 48 hours for a report, and are increasingly pressing
for same-day service - patient gets a scan, then goes to clinician
office - they want a final report by the time of a clinical appointment.
- Presently investigating ways of streamlining workflow to facilitate
report creation / distribution, looking at what types of context are available
in the daily workflow that can be used to facilitate report creation, i.e. intelligent presentation of a list of possible structured reporting template, then just fill out the words, vocabulary / language model selection for recognition.
- We have a lot of contextual information about
what is going to be dictated (Modality [CT, MR, "plain film", US, etc],
body part, ordering physician / referring physician names) on a case-by-case
basis, and this could allow us to be a lot smarter in our choice of language
model and dictionary used for speech recognition.
- Most commercial packages focus on realtime recognition, have a
single large "Radiology" or even "Medical" vocabulary and language model,
and don't take advantage of the additional context available in the workflow.
Non-realtime "batch mode" recognition could still be very useful and might
allow greater accuracy.
- - completed Residency in Diagnostic Radiology at UPMC ('98-'02)
- - was formerly an intern at Sacred Heart Medical Center in
- - am an MD/PhD graduate
- University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
- Carnegie Mellon University, ECE PhD graduate 5/19/96
Research interests included (still include, just no time this year!):
- Portable computing Enthralled with the potential of the Palm and similar platforms to put large amounts of frequently-updated data at a users fingertips,
especially medical data such as patient issue lists, drug information, and
This is my 8MB hack for the Palm m100.
- Medical imaging. Significant interests in various tomographic imaging
techniques, especially using algorithms which parallelize well.
- A closely related area of interest is Machine vision, in particular
low-latency multi-baseline stereo imaging.
- The enabling technology for both of these was Parallel Computing,
and this was where I actually did my thesis work.
- Actually, my work dealt with several small subsets of Parallel Computing,
namely Barrier Synchonization
and realtime scheduling.
Parallel computing is a simple concept: Take a big task,
split it into a set of smaller tasks, and give each task to a separate
computer. But, making it work in a scalable, reliable manner is difficult.
As the number of processors increases, the latency of the
communication between processors becomes a limiting factor. In fact,
scheduling scarce communications resources for even just a 64-processor
machine is like choreographing a performance of ballet dancers and
machine-gunners. If everything works
just right, one sees an awesome display of numerical grace and firepower.
If something goes wrong, though, things get so bad so fast that it
takes two weeks just to figure out what happened in that fatal
split-second. Debugging parallel programs on machines which
are generating over a billion wrong numbers per second is a
considerable challenge and a sure-fire way to blow a weekend.
Full text of my thesis "Tasks and
Connection Sets: Choreographed Communication on a Connection-based Parallel
Computer" is available in Adobe Acrobat format
or Postscript format.
- - operate Amateur radio - licensed as KA8HML
- - avidly enjoy "Ask Dr. Science" / Duck's Breath Mystery Theatre
A rather long (and slightly outdated) biographical sketch describing who I was, and what the heck I
was trying to do in Pittsburgh
- Some notes and photos from Guatemala medical mission trip 2 yrs ago are here
Some of my favorite photos to date
Warfel, Thomas E.; Tasks and Connection Sets: Choreographed Communication
on a Reconfigurable Connection-based Parallel Computer, Ph.D. Thesis in
Electrical and Computer Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, 1996.
(also as CMU School of Computer Science Technical Report CMU-CS-96-155;
Carnegie Mellon University, 1996).
Noll, D.; Webb, J.; Warfel, T.; "Parallel Data Resampling and Fourier
Inversion by the Scan-line Method", IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging,
vol. 14, num. 3, Sept 1995, pp. 454-463.
Webb, Jon A.; Warfel, Thomas E.; Kang, Sing-Bing; A Scalable Video-Rate
Camera Interface; CMU School of Computer Science Technical Report
CMU-CS-94-192; Carnegie Mellon University; 1994.
Noll, D.; Warfel, T.; "Parallel MRI Deblurring", poster session at
Feldmann, A.; Stricker, T.M.; Warfel, T.E.;"Supporting sets of arbitrary
connections on iWarp through communication context switches,"
Proceedings of the 5th Annual ACM Symposium on Parallel Algorithms and
Architectures; pp. 203-212; 1993.
Warfel, T.E.; Noll, D.C.; "Parallel Deblurring for Non-spin-warp Imaging";
Soc. of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, 11th Ann. Mtg.; p. 473,
August 1992. (conference abstract, presentation)
Mintun, M.A.; Warfel, T.E.; Schuster, D.P.; "Evaluating pulmonary vascular
permeability with radiolabeled proteins: an error analysis"; Journal of
Applied Physiology, vol. 68, pp. 1696-1706; April 1990.
Links to other people's stuff
Strawberry Poptart Blowtorches -
Dave Barry would be proud.
John December at RPI has a nifty
of Internet tools.
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