Survey results reveal strong need for disc abandonment by children’s hospitals



Diagnostic radiologists are constantly adapting and changing as technology advances. One of these changes has been a marked increase in the review of previous images when radiologists are presented with new radiological images. Prior images are available for review on the Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) which digitally stores and transmits electronic images and clinically relevant reports. Vendor Independent Archive (VNA) solutions make it easy for radiologists to access prior images across disparate PACS vendor networks. Nevertheless, the transfer of radiological images today faces many challenges, too often forcing physicians, imaging centers and even hospitals to resort to burning patients’ diagnostic images onto a CD that is physically delivered. these patients to pass on to their healthcare providers. This clumsy and inefficient continuous transfer of radiological data via CD created a concerted effort for change that became known as the “Ditch the Disc” movement, or #ditchthedisc.

An original article was published online by the journal, Pediatric Radiology, reporting the results of a survey conducted to determine image sharing capabilities among children’s hospitals across the United States. they were able to quantify many of today’s image exchange challenges.

The continued use of CDs remains a common challenge in US children’s hospitals. As their pediatric centers attempt to move away from CDs, electronic image-sharing platforms are increasingly being used. But while more than 75% of responding children’s hospitals say they have a method of electronic image file sharing, half of respondents indicate that the lack of electronic image sharing capabilities at other facilities or the lack of interoperability between systems remains an ongoing problem.

Researchers are observing the negative downstream consequences of ongoing interoperability challenges, including repeated imaging and duplicated radiation exposure (particularly concerning in pediatric patients) and delayed tracking of incidental findings. They note projections that interoperable image exchange solutions that reduce the need for repeat imaging could result in annual savings of $9 billion in healthcare costs. Of course, the upfront costs of implementing and integrating image sharing solutions to these issues also remain.

The need for #ditchthedisc is of paramount importance. In my own legal practice, I see that hospitals are constantly looking for fast turnaround on test results, but radiologists’ work is too often delayed or handicapped when prior images are not available for radiologists to review with the study in Classes.

A lot of work remains to be done to meet this challenge!

(Note, for those wishing to read more than the attached summary of this review article, it is available for purchase from the publisher.)

Our results reveal that 78% of responding US children’s hospitals have an electronic image-sharing platform. Twenty-seven percent of the establishments surveyed encounter daily difficulties with the sharing of radiological images. Most difficulties relate to CDs (67%) and the lack of interoperability between electronic image sharing platforms (51%).…

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