Instead of sliding X-ray films on light boxes, physicians at the University of Maryland Medical Center will now read X-rays and other radiological images on computer screens and the Internet, providing faster medical diagnoses and reducing costs.
A new imaging system eliminates film and allows images to be viewed on computer screens in the hospital or in the offices of referring physicians with Internet access. The system includes not only X-rays but all imaging studies including ultrasound, magnetic resonance images, computed tomography, angiograms and nuclear medicine scans.
"This is another example of cutting edge technology that provides innovative approaches to diagnosis and treatment," says Philip A. Templeton, M.D., chair of diagnostic radiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Known as the Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS), the system allows rapid access to diagnostic images and accelerates the speed of medical consultations and diagnoses. As soon as an X-ray or other image is taken, it is available on the system. Radiologists can change the view, zoom in or enhance the image.
"We will be able to read scans within minutes and can help colleagues in other parts of the building or in outside offices make medical decisions. For patients, it reduces the time they must wait for medical results," adds Dr. Templeton. "It will also significantly lower medical costs by eliminating duplication of studies and reducing the length of hospital stays for some patients."
A radiologist on one floor, for example, and a surgeon in the operating room can simultaneously view the same image. In fact, with no film to store or lose, there is no limit to the number of specialists who can view the same image at the same time.
The medical center began installing the filmless radiology system in
April and has now completed the first phase. When fully
Contact: Ellen Beth Levitt
University of Maryland Medical Center