Public Release: 

'Cloud' computing technology should make sharing medical images easier and more efficient

The Mount Sinai Hospital / Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Patients find "cloud" technology a faster, more efficient way to store and distribute their medical images than current options, according to the preliminary findings of an image sharing project led by The Mount Sinai Medical Center in conjunction with four other academic medical institutions. The Phase I results of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) Image Share project are being presented today at the American Roentgen Ray Society Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Canada.

Mount Sinai was the first site to go live in August 2011 and currently has about 190 patients enrolled in project. A total of about 600 patients are participating in all sites, which also include University of California - San Francisco, University of Chicago Medical Center, Mayo Clinic, and the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore.

"Cloud" computing involves using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer.

"This is the next revolution in digital imaging," said David Mendelson, MD, FACR, Chief of Clinical Informatics at The Mount Sinai Medical Center and Chief Clinical Investigator for RSNA Image Share. "It gives the patient ownership over their records and makes the information more accessible to physicians. Plus it decreases unnecessary radiation exposure that can be caused by physicians ordering duplicate examinations due to records not being easily available."

To use RSNA Image Share, patients create an account and password and then are given access to import their images and reports into the personal health record account. For patient confidentiality and security reasons, when the information leaves the server at each local radiology site and goes outside a hospital's firewall, it remains encrypted until it arrives in the patient's account, where it's unencrypted so the patient can see it.

"We're dealing with sensitive health information, so creating a secure and confidential system is of the utmost importance," said Dr. Mendelson. "But if you look at online banking or shopping, which both transport sensitive financial information; we know creating a secure, widely used system is an attainable goal."

In phase two of the trial, patients will be allowed to share their images without the images first being uploaded to an Internet-based personal health record. This should be useful in the event of severe acute trauma, with transfer to a trauma center. In phase three, the data will be de-identified and then made available for clinical trials.


The RSNA Image Share project was funded by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering at NIH.

About The Mount Sinai Medical Center

The Mount Sinai Medical Center encompasses both The Mount Sinai Hospital and Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Established in 1968, Mount Sinai School of Medicine is one of the leading medical schools in the United States. The Medical School is noted for innovation in education, biomedical research, clinical care delivery, and local and global community service. It has more than 3,400 faculty in 32 departments and 14 research institutes, and ranks among the top 20 medical schools both in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding and by U.S. News & World Report. The Mount Sinai Hospital, founded in 1852, is a 1,171-bed tertiary- and quaternary-care teaching facility and one of the nation's oldest, largest and most-respected voluntary hospitals. In 2011, U.S. News & World Report ranked The Mount Sinai Hospital 16th on its elite Honor Roll of the nation's top hospitals based on reputation, safety, and other patient-care factors. Of the top 20 hospitals in the United States, Mount Sinai is one of 12 integrated academic medical centers whose medical school ranks among the top 20 in NIH funding and US News & World Report and whose hospital is on the US News & World Report Honor Roll. Nearly 60,000 people were treated at Mount Sinai as inpatients last year, and approximately 560,000 outpatient visits took place.

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