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Study finds problems with reviewing medical images from portable media

Radiologists and referring clinicians frequently use portable media (CDs, DVDs) to review patient medical images acquired at outside imaging centers, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scans, but issues regarding access, importability, and viewing of these portable media exist, according to a study in the January issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology (

"Because of the multitude of user interface software applications, file formats, hardware configurations, security settings, and types of media in use today, review of outside medical imaging delivered on portable media may be a burdensome or problematic venture in many instances, to radiologists and to clinicians from other specialties," said Katarzyna J. Macura, MD, PhD, author of the study. "Our study looks at current practices for portable media use for medical imaging in both academic and nonacademic radiology departments in the United States," said Macura.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, reviewed a nonrandom sample, 22-question survey, of members of the Association of Administrators in Academic Radiology, the Association for Medical Imaging Management, and the University HealthSystem Consortium. Questions were grouped by media production and media viewing practices.

One hundred and two individual responses to the survey were reviewed. Three main problem areas regarding portable media were found: (1) access, (2) importability, and (3) viewing issues. Noncompliance with the Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) standard and/or corresponding Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) profile, and a lack of knowledge about compliance were also found to be major issues in the study.

"Problems in any of the areas identified delay delivery of appropriate clinical or surgical care and could potentially have a detrimental effect on patient outcomes. To avoid this, radiology practices should routinely generate only media compliant with Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) and Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) Portable Data for Imaging (PDI) and should test for compliance regularly," said Macura.


Contact: Heather Curry
American College of Radiology / American Roentgen Ray Society

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