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CD image import reduces unnecessary imaging exams in emergency rooms
Date:4/18/2011

OAK BROOK, Ill. Each year, more than two million critically ill patients are transferred from one hospital emergency department (ED) to another for appropriate care. With the ability to successfully import data from a CD-ROM containing the patient's diagnostic medical images, hospitals may be able to significantly reduce unnecessary medical imaging tests, some of which expose patients to radiation. These findings are reported in a new study published in the July issue of Radiology.

According to researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, the implementing a system to upload CD images of emergency transfer patients into the receiving institution's picture archiving and communication system (PACS) decreased the rate of subsequent imaging by 17 percent.

"Because there is no central repository for medical images or a large-scale system to transfer images electronically between hospitals, a CD with diagnostic imaging is among the most critical components in the hand-off of clinical information for patients transferred between hospitals," said lead researcher Aaron Sodickson, M.D., Ph.D., interim director of emergency radiology at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

When CD images are imported into PACS, the images can be efficiently reviewed by multiple members of the healthcare team, even if they are in different locations. When the receiving hospital does not have that import ability, or when an import is unsuccessful because a CD is damaged, lost or in a non-standard image format, repeat imaging is often performed.

"We know that a substantial portion of imaging performed on ED transfer patients is repeated at the receiving institution, which drives up healthcare costs, delays patient care and often exposes patients to additional ionizing radiation and intravenous contrast material," Dr. Sodickson said.

In July 2008, Brigham and Women's Hospital implemented a system to import outside imaging sent on CD in
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Contact: Linda Brooks
lbrooks@rsna.org
630-590-7762
Radiological Society of North America
Source:Eurekalert

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