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

to the institution's PACS 24 hours a day. Receiving physicians were required to place a CD import order with the patient's history in the hospital's electronic radiology ordering system and deliver the CD to the emergency radiology support staff, who would subsequently import the CD contents into PACS using a software application that identifies and imports Digital Imaging and Communication in Medicine (DICOM) format files.

For the study, researchers reviewed the medical records of 1,487 consecutive patients who were transferred to the Brigham and Women's Hospital ED between February and August 2009 with a CD containing medical images acquired elsewhere. CD import to PACS was attempted for all patients and was successful for 1,161, or 78 percent, of the patients. Incompatible image formats or CD malfunction resulted in 326 unsuccessful CD imports.

Compared with the patients whose imaging could not be imported, patients with successfully imported CDs had a 17 percent decrease in imaging rates during the subsequent 24 hours (2.7 versus 3.3 exams per patient) and a 16 percent decrease (1.2 versus 1.4 scans per patient) in subsequent CT scans.

"Implementing CD import procedures has provided us with a far more efficient way to take care of our patients," Dr. Sodickson said.

Extrapolating these results to the approximately 2.2 million patient transfers between American EDs each year, the estimated annual reduction in CT utilization due to successful CD import to PACS would be on the order of 484,000 CT scans.

"One of the goals of our healthcare delivery system must be to provide access to diagnostic imaging results to all locations involved in a patient's care, either through implementation of a universal electronic medical record, image repositories, or robust image transfer networks," Dr. Sodickson said. "But until those solutions reach maturity, ensuring that medical images can be downloaded from CDs in a standard, PACS-co
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Contact: Linda Brooks
lbrooks@rsna.org
630-590-7762
Radiological Society of North America
Source:Eurekalert

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