Teleradiology is a method of distributing digital diagnostic images such as, X-rays, ultrasonography, magnetic resonance and radioisotopes, and other related information through local area or wide area networks between remotely located facilities.
A well planned teleradiology system can be a cost effective and time efficient method that allows users to capture, transmit, store, and review patient studies. In design and implementation of a successful teleradiology system the following categories play a significant role:
Storage Systems And Databases (PACS)
Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) is an image-based information system for the acquisition, storage, communication, archiving, display, and manipulation of medical digital images, and other relevant data. The PACS archive is expected to replace radiology film library.
Imaging Standards (DICOM)
A practical archive system must be capable of moving the data off onto its successor system. DICOM (Digital Imaging Communication) is an imaging standard that allows the exchange of data between different hosts and equipment across the network in a heterogeneous environment.
The concepts of PACS and HIS/RIS (Hospital and Radiology Information Systems) are the same; only the data types are different. PACS applications manage images, and HIS/RIS applications manage patients, studies, and results. The coupling of PACS and HIS/ RIS has been repressed due to incompatibility of data definitions and standards. Triggered by user needs, recent developments aim at high level integration of PACS and HIS/RIS.
High Speed Networks
High speed data transmission and data security are crucial prerequisites for the clinical acceptance of distributed medical services. It is widely believed that Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) is a type of networking technology that will make transmission of digital medical images practical and affordable. ATM has the ability to handle large amounts of traffic simultaneously, bandwidth scalability and integration with existing network protocols such as Ethernet, and FDDI.
Video Networks And Multimedia Systems
Providing “real-time interactive” video transfer of ultrasound images can improve efficiency and faster turnaround time for radiographic reports, while maintaining the quality of care. Implementation of the real-time ultrasound video transfer has become possible because of the availability of ATM technology and Advanced Communications Technology Satellite (ACTS). These technologies allow remote real time monitoring of invasive procedures, and remote clinical diagnosis of multiple disease and pathology states which in turn make subspecialty consultation and education at a distance feasible.