Evaluation of vocabularies for electronic laboratory reporting to public health agencies.
Clinical laboratories and clinicians transmit certain laboratory test results to public health agencies as required by state or local law. Most of these surveillance data are currently received by conventional mail or facsimile transmission. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, and Association of Public Health Laboratories are preparing to implement surveillance systems that will use existing laboratory information systems to transmit electronic laboratory results to appropriate public health agencies. The authors anticipate that this will improve the reporting efficiency for these laboratories, reduce manual data entry, and greatly increase the timeliness and utility of the data. The vocabulary and messaging standards used should encourage participation in these new electronic reporting systems by minimizing the cost and inconvenience to laboratories while providing for accurate and complete communication of needed data. This article describes public health data requirements and the influence of vocabulary and messaging standards on implementation. (+info)
Challenges associated with the incorporation of digital radiography into a picture archival and communication system.
Digital radiography (DR) has recently emerged as an attractive alternative to computed radiography (CR) for the acquisition of general radiographic studies in a digital environment. It offers the possibility of improved spatial and contrast resolution, decreased radiation dose due to improved efficiency of detection of x-ray photons, and perhaps most importantly, holds out the promise of increased technologist productivity. To achieve maximum efficiency, DR must be completely integrated into existing information systems, including the hospital and radiology information systems (HIS/RIS) and, when present, the picture archival and communication system (PACS). The early experience with the integration of DR at the Baltimore Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) has identified several challenges that exist to the successful integration of DR. DR has only recently been defined as a separate Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) modality and images obtained will, at first, be listed under the category of CR. Matrix sizes with some DR products on the market exceed the current size limitations of some PACS. The patient throughput may be substantially greater with DR than with CR, and this in combination with the larger size of image files may result in greater demands for network and computer performance in the process of communication with the HIS/RIS and PACS. Additionally, in a hybrid department using both CR and DR, new rules must be defined for prefetching and display of general radiographic studies to permit these examinations to be retrieved and compared together. Advanced features that are planned for DR systems, such as dual-energy subtraction, tomosynthesis, and temporal subtraction, will likely require additional workstation tools beyond those currently available for CR. (+info)
Maintaining continuity of clinical operations while implementing large-scale filmless operations.
Texas Children's Hospital is a pediatric tertiary care facility in the Texas Medical Center with a large-scale, Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM)-compliant picture archival and communications system (PACS) installation. As our PACS has grown from an ultrasound niche PACS into a full-scale, multimodality operation, assuring continuity of clinical operations has become the number one task of the PACS staff. As new equipment is acquired and incorporated into the PACS, workflow processes, responsibilities, and job descriptions must be revised to accommodate filmless operations. Round-the-clock clinical operations must be supported with round-the-clock service, including three shifts, weekends, and holidays. To avoid unnecessary interruptions in clinical service, this requirement includes properly trained operators and users, as well as service personnel. Redundancy is a cornerstone in assuring continuity of clinical operations. This includes all PACS components such as acquisition, network interfaces, gateways, archive, and display. Where redundancy is not feasible, spare parts must be readily available. The need for redundancy also includes trained personnel. Procedures for contingency operations in the event of equipment failures must be devised, documented, and rehearsed. Contingency operations might be required in the event of scheduled as well as unscheduled service events, power outages, network outages, or interruption of the radiology information system (RIS) interface. Methods must be developed and implemented for reporting and documenting problems. We have a Trouble Call service that records a voice message and automatically pages the PACS Console Operator on duty. We also have developed a Maintenance Module on our RIS system where service calls are recorded by technologists and service actions are recorded and monitored by PACS support personnel. In a filmless environment, responsibility for the delivery of images to the radiologist and referring physician must be accepted by each imaging supervisor. Thus, each supervisor must initiate processes to verify correct patient and examination identification and the correct count and routing of images with each examination. (+info)
Reengineering the picture archiving and communication system (PACS) process for digital imaging networks PACS.
Prior to June 1997, military picture archiving and communications systems (PACS) were planned, procured, and installed with key decisions on the system, equipment, and even funding sources made through a research and development office called Medical Diagnostic Imaging Systems (MDIS). Beginning in June 1997, the Joint Imaging Technology Project Office (JITPO) initiated a collaborative and consultative process for planning and implementing PACS into military treatment facilities through a new Department of Defense (DoD) contract vehicle called digital imaging networks (DIN)-PACS. The JITPO reengineered this process incorporating multiple organizations and politics. The reengineered PACS process administered through the JITPO transformed the decision process and accountability from a single office to a consultative method that increased end-user knowledge, responsibility, and ownership in PACS. The JITPO continues to provide information and services that assist multiple groups and users in rendering PACS planning and implementation decisions. Local site project managers are involved from the outset and this end-user collaboration has made the sometimes difficult transition to PACS an easier and more acceptable process for all involved. Corporately, this process saved DoD sites millions by having PACS plans developed within the government and proposed to vendors second, and then having vendors respond specifically to those plans. The integrity and efficiency of the process have reduced the opportunity for implementing nonstandard systems while sharing resources and reducing wasted government dollars. This presentation will describe the chronology of changes, encountered obstacles, and lessons learned within the reengineering of the PACS process for DIN-PACS. (+info)
The strategic and operational characteristics of a distributed phased archive for a multivendor incremental implementation of picture archiving and communications systems.
The long-term (10 years) multimodality distributed phased archive for the Medical Information, Communication and Archive System (MICAS) is being implemented in three phases. The selection process took approximately 10 months. Based on the mandatory archive attributes and desirable features, Cemax-Icon (Fremont, CA) was selected as the vendor. The archive provides for an open-solution allowing incorporation of leading edge, "best of breed" hardware and software and provides maximum flexibility and automation of workflow both within and outside of radiology. The solution selected is media-independent, provides expandable storage capacity, and will provide redundancy and fault tolerance in phase II at minimum cost. Other attributes of the archive include scalable archive strategy, virtual image database with global query, and an object-oriented database. The archive is seamlessly integrated with the radiology information system (RIS) and provides automated fetching and routing, automated study reconciliation using modality worklist manager, clinical reports available at any Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) workstation, and studies available for interpretation whether validated or not. Within 24 hours after a new study is acquired, four copies will reside within different components of the archive including a copy that can be stored off-site. Phase II of the archive will be installed during 1999 and will include a second Cemax-Icon archive and database using archive manager (AM) Version 4.0 in a second computer room. (+info)
Enhancing availability of the electronic image record for patients and caregivers during follow-up care.
PURPOSE: To develop a personal computer (PC)-based software package that allows portability of the electronic imaging record. To create custom software that enhances the transfer of images in two fashions. Firstly, to an end user, whether physician or patient, provide a browser capable of viewing digital images on a conventional personal computer. Second, to provide the ability to transfer the archived Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) images to other institutional picture archiving and communications systems (PACS) through a transfer engine. METHOD/MATERIALS: Radiologic studies are provided on a CD-ROM. This CD-ROM contains a copy of the browser to view images, a DICOM-based engine to transfer images to the receiving institutional PACS, and copies of all pertinent imaging studies for the particular patient. The host computer system in an Intel based Pentium 90 MHz PC with Microsoft Windows 95 software (Microsoft Inc, Seattle, WA). The system has 48 MB of random access memory, a 3.0 GB hard disk, and a Smart and Friendly CD-R 2006 CD-ROM recorder (Smart and Friendly Inc, Chatsworth, CA). RESULTS: Each CD-ROM disc can hold 640 MB of data. In our experience, this houses anywhere from, based on Table 1, 12 to 30 computed tomography (CT) examinations, 24 to 80 magnetic resonance (MR) examinations, 60 to 128 ultrasound examinations, 32 to 64 computed radiographic examinations, 80 digitized x-rays, or five digitized mammography examinations. We have been able to successfully transfer DICOM images from one DICOM-based PACS to another DICOM-based PACS. This is accomplished by inserting the created CD-ROM onto a CD drive attached to the receiving PACS and running the transfer engine application. CONCLUSIONS: Providing copies of radiologic studies performed to the patient is a necessity in every radiology department. Conventionally, film libraries have provided copies to the patient generating issues of cost of loss of film, as well as mailing costs. This software package saves costs and loss of studies, as well as improving patient care by enabling the patient to maintain an archive of their electronic imaging record. (+info)
A generic digital imaging and communications in medicine solution for a bidirectional interface between the modality and the radiology information system.
The Relay is a generic Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM)-compliant software package. It is a bidirectional interface between the modality and the radiology information system (RIS) that uses DICOM modality worklist and modality-performed procedure step services. This device can eliminate discrepancies between patient demographic information contained in the RIS and that entered at the imaging modality. The Relay receives the worklist for a modality from the RIS. It verifies the accession number (ACC#) and medical record number (MRN) received from the RIS for a study against the ACC# and MRN entered at the modality after that study is pushed to the Relay by the modality. If the values for the ACC# and MRN contained in the image header coincide with the values stored on the RIS, the patient demographics and study protocol contained in the RIS is downloaded into the image header. The study is then automatically routed to the specified destination without technologist intervention. Images whose header does not coincide with data on the RIS are flagged for subsequent reconciliation by the technologist. When the study is completed, the Relay updates the status of the study in the RIS, if the RIS provides DICOM performed procedure step service. When required, the Relay is able to split a single study into two or more series and assign each an ACC#. Other Relay functionality includes sending studies to multiple DICOM devices, adding comments to the image header, and DICOM print service. Should the archive be unavailable to receive images for whatever reason, the Relay can store studies so image acquisition can continue without interruption or it can divert studies directly to a diagnostic workstation. This Relay provides redundancy and fault-tolerance capabilities for picture archiving and communications systems. It is vendor-independent and will function with any DICOM modality, RIS, or archive. (+info)
Bridging the gap: linking a legacy hospital information system with a filmless radiology picture archiving and communications system within a nonhomogeneous environment.
A health level 7 (HL7)-conformant data link to exchange information between the mainframe hospital information system (HIS) of our hospital and our home-grown picture archiving and communications system (PACS) is a result of a collaborative effort between the HIS department and the PACS development team. Based of the ability to link examination requisitions and image studies, applications have been generated to optimise workflow and to improve the reliability and distribution of radiology information. Now, images can be routed to individual radiologists and clinicians; worklists facilitate radiology reporting; applications exist to create, edit, and view reports and images via the internet; and automated quality control now limits the incidence of "lost" cases and errors in image routing. By following the HL7 standard to develop the gateway to the legacy system, the development of a radiology information system for booking, reading, reporting, and billing remains universal and does not preclude the option to integrate off-the-shelf commercial products. (+info)