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Work Items

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The lower portion of the Activity Monitor is a table detailing all the work that is currently being done by Workstation, as well as work that was completed recently or is scheduled to occur in the near future.


By default, when you open the Activity Monitor (via Tools > Activity Monitor), all work items are shown, sorted in descending order by Requested Time, which for manual operations, is essentially the time at which you invoked it; for example, when you delete a study through the study browser. The following is a brief explanation of each column in the table:

Patient: the patient's last and first name, as well as the patient's ID/MRN.

Study: a friendly description of the affected study, including the study date and time, description, modality and accession number.

Activity: a friendly description of the activity being performed; for DICOM networking operations, this typically includes the name of the remote server. An example would be "DICOM Send Study to CC Streaming Server."

Status: the typical progression of a work item is that it starts out in Pending status until it starts. Once it starts, it is either In Progress or Idle, where Idle simply means it is waiting for a short time to see if there is any more work to do before completing. A work item is finished when its status is Completed, Failed or Stopped. An item can only be Stopped manually.

Status Details: a detailed description of the work item progress and/or status, usually including the number of items (often images) processed, pending or failed. When the work item fails, there will be a more detailed description of the problem here, as well as in the tooltip if you hover the mouse over the Status Details for the work item.

Requested Time: this is essentially the time at which the work item was originally requested, either manually or automatically by the system. Sorting the table on this column will give you a rough idea of the progression of work items over time. The table is sorted on this column upon first opening.

Scheduled Time: this is the time at which a work item is scheduled to start running, and is often the same as the Requested Time, but not always. Items that are manually restarted, for example, are rescheduled for the current time so they cannot interfere with items that are currently in progress.

Priority: There are 3 possible priorities for work items: Normal, High and Stat. User and system invoked work items are either Normal or High, and Stat is reserved for manually forcing selected work items to run immediately. For example, if there were an emergency case being sent elsewhere that was stuck behind other work items, it could be made Stat so that it ran right away.

Progress: All work items show progress. The progress bar also indicates the status of the work item: Pending=White(or empty), Stopped=Yellow, In Progress,Idle,Complete=Green, Failed=Red.

Types of work items

Examples of the types of work items that will appear in the table are:

Send Study or Series: a study (or series) is being sent from Workstation to another device. These are manually invoked operations.

Publish Files: usually appear when key images or PDF attachments have been created that need to be sent back to the source device. See publishing configuration for more details.

Retrieve Study or Series: a study or series is being retrieved to Workstation from another device. These are manually invoked operations.

Receive Study: a study is being received from another device that is sending to Workstation. One of these items is created per Retrieve Study item, but they may also exist independently when the receive is unsolicited (e.g. a study being auto-routed to Workstation from another device).

Import Files (and Import Study): one or more studies are being imported from a file system, such as the local disk or a mapped network drive. As the Import Files item progresses, Import Study work items will be inserted for each unique DICOM study that is encountered. If this work item, and all the Import Study work items it spawned succeed, then all files were imported successfully. See importing DICOM images for more information.

Delete Study or Series: a single study, or one or more series within a study are being deleted. These are often manually invoked operations, but you can configure automatic study deletion as well. See deleting studies, deleting series, and study storage for more information.

Re-index: It is unlikely you will need to do this, but if you ever have any concerns that the studies in the local store are incomplete, or have somehow been corrupted, you can rebuild the local store by having Workstation scan and re-index all the files in the file store. See re-indexing the file store for more details.

Re-apply rules: If you make changes to the automatic study deletion behaviour, this type of work item will appear in the Activity Monitor. Follow the previous link for more information.

Important Notes

In the case of an unsolicited receive (e.g. auto-route or send from another device) that has failed, these operations cannot be restarted from the Activity Monitor; they must be restarted from the originating device. ClearCanvas ImageServer will automatically retry send operations that fail, but you should still verify that new work items appear (and succeed) for each affected study.
When importing DICOM files/images, in terms of study completeness, Workstation cannot do anything beyond simply enumerating and importing the files. Make sure you selected all the  right files/folders and the studies that were created/updated as a result of the import are complete and correct.
Re-index requires all in progress work items to complete before it can start, and no other work items can start while the re-index is in progress. Since re-indexing a large file store could take a very long time, it is recommended you do this in off-hours.

Work item processing

A work item remains in Pending status until the Scheduled Time is reached, after which it will begin processing (In Progress) and run to completion. When deciding which work item should start next, Workstation looks at all the Pending work items in order first by Priority, then by Scheduled Time. High Priority items will run before Normal Priority ones, but only once their Scheduled Time has been reached.

The following table illustrates how Workstation decides which work items should begin processing. Assume the items in the table are all currently in Pending status, and there are currently no other work items already in progress. The work items in green will start processing because their Scheduled Time has been reached.

The time is 11:43:30 AM.


Scheduled Time


11:41 AM


12:01 PM


11:42 AM


11:45 AM


11:43 AM


By default, Workstation has 6 "slots" for processing Normal and High Priority work items, and it will always try to keep those 6 slots filled, provided there are enough work items to fill them.

For Stat priority work items, Workstation has 2 dedicated "slots" for processing, by default. So, although you can make work items Stat in order to make them begin processing sooner, you should not overuse the Stat priority, as only 1 or 2 Stat work items can be processed at a time.

When there are multiple work items for the same study, often the In Progress item will cause the other ones to wait until it completes before they can start. See below for more information.

Managing work items

The toolbar at the top of the work item table can be used to view and manage all the work items.


When there are a lot of work items in the table, the Activity, Status and Search filters can be used to narrow down the list.

Activity: select an activity type, such as DICOM Send Study, to see only work items of the specified type.

Status: select only Complete or Failed work items, for example.

Search: type in some text, and only work items where the text appears somewhere in the row (any column value), will be shown.

The 3 filters can be used in combination.


The 4 buttons on the right side of the toolbar allow you to manipulate work items.

Stop: work items that have not completed (Pending, In Progress, Idle) can be stopped, with some exceptions; for example, Retrieve Study and Receive Study operations cannot be stopped, because not all DICOM servers support cancellation, which could have some undesirable effects.

Restart: work items that have Failed, or have been manually Stopped, can usually be restarted; Receive Study items are an example of a work item that cannot be restarted because they must be restarted at the sending device. Restarted items always start over again, rather than resuming in the middle of the operation; this is generally the safest thing to do.

Delete: work items that have not yet started (Pending), or have finished processing (Complete, Failed) can be deleted. Work items that have not failed are deleted automatically after 2 hours. Failed work items are never automatically deleted, and must be dealt with and deleted manually.

Make Stat: work items can be made Stat at any time, whether they are In Progress or not. However, generally once a work item has already started processing, it will run to completion regardless of its priority. This function is typically reserved for ensuring certain important work items, such as emergency cases, run right away and are not blocked waiting for other work items to complete.

Important Notes

The Make Stat function should be used sparingly because there are a limited number of "slots" dedicated to processing them. Reserve this for work items that truly are important, such as emergency cases.
Complete work items are automatically deleted 2 hours after completion, however Failed work items are never deleted. They must be dealt with and deleted manually.

Dealing with failed work items

When a work item fails, an alert will appear in the bottom right corner of the main window. From there you can launch the Activity Monitor directly.

Failures can occur for any number of reasons, and each situation is often unique. Find the failed work item and look at the Status Details message. There may also be additional information in the tooltip if you hover over the work item's Status Details with your mouse.

If the messages aren't helping to diagnose the problem, you can consult the application logs by clicking on the Show logs "quick link" in the Activity Monitor's dashboard.

If you are still unable to determine what the problem is, consult the Troubleshooting section of this guide. You should also consult your PACS administrator.

Once the problem has been resolved, you can either restart or delete the work item, depending on the nature of the problem.

Work item interactions

For the most part, work items can run freely at the same time as other work items, with a few exceptions.

Re-index cannot run unless there are no other work items currently running. Also, other work items cannot start until the re-index completes.

Work items affecting the same study cannot always run concurrently. For example, any number of Send Study operations can run at the same time for the same study, but a Send Study must wait for a Delete Series to complete in order to maintain the integrity of the study that is sent.

Work items that are waiting for others to complete will indicate so in the Status Details column.


ClearCanvas Workstation, Personal - User's Guide
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