With the digitalization of the world, the World Wide Web has also expanded extensively. Today, there are over 1 billion websites in the world. In order to access those websites and display their content, you need a dedicated software application. This is where the browser comes into action. Let’s explore more about the browser in this module.
Browser – Brief Overview
Browser also known as the internet browser or web browser is a software application designed to make it simple and quick to access the World Wide Web. The job of a browser is to retrieve content from web servers when a user requests a web page of some website. The browser then presents the content on the user’s PC or mobile/tablet device.
There are dozens of browsers available today, each offering its own set of features and user experience. Microsoft Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge comes default on Windows computers. The most popular among all is the Google Chrome browser. Google Chrome can be installed on PCs, Macs, mobile devices, and tablets. It offers an intuitive user interface, multiple tabs, and tons of other features that make it easy for anyone to use it and explore the World Wide Web. Other browser examples are Firefox, Opera, Safari and Brave.
Browser vs. Search Engine
Often people confuse the web browser and search engine as one main thing. However, they both are completely different. A search engine is basically a website (such as Google.com) that presents links to other websites. On the other hand, a browser is an application that is required to connect with a website’s server and display its web pages. In short, you need a browser to access the search engine.
Browsers in Imaging Informatics
In the modern imaging space, there is a shift towards using browser based applications over thick client installations. Previously, for an enterprise physician to view radiology images, the physician would need to access a PACS software application that is installed on their computer. These clients may need to be managed by hospital IT staff. Upgrades may need to be pushed to each computer that has the application installed. Then testing may need to be performed on each individual computer depending on how the software interacts with other software such as the EHR or voice dictation system. In newer modern PACS/VNA applications, no thick client installation is required. Instead, the physician can simply launch their browser to access the HTML5 PACS/VNA viewer. Browser based applications are easier for hospital IT to manage.
Some PACS/VNA applications also provide users the ability to upload studies. It is important to note that vendors prefer their customers use Google Chrome or Firefox as the default browser. Using internet explorer for exam upload may prompt users to install additional software such as java. Chrome or firefox for web upload usually provides a smoother end user experience as no additional steps are necessary.
Browsers are not just a mechanism for surfing the web. Browsers have become an essential tool for physicians to provide exceptional patient care in the digital age.