Public Release:  Study finds problems with reviewing medical images from portable media

American College of Radiology

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 (www.jacr.org).

"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.

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The January issue of JACR is an important resource for radiology and nuclear medicine professionals as well as students seeking clinical and educational improvement.

For more information about JACR, please visit www.jacr.org.

To receive an electronic copy of an article appearing in JACR or to set up an interview with a JACR author or another ACR member, please contact Heather Curry at 703-390-9822 or hcurry@acr.org.

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