RSNA demo offers first-hand look at image sharing

By Bernie Monegain
07:22 AM

RSNA Image Share will provide demonstrations on how best to share medical images all week during exhibit hours at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, Nov. 22-Dec. 2 at McCormick Place in Chicago, where commercial vendors and research organizations will use IHE profiles for image exchange.

IHE refers to Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise, an initiative that aims to boost the way computer systems share healthcare information. RSNA Image Share is based upon the XDS-I.b profile of IHE.

Demonstrations in Hall A, booth 2851, will be continuous throughout exhibit hours: Sunday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m.-10 p.m.; and Friday, 7 a.m.-12:45 p.m.

Image Share teams will show how patients can maintain control of their imaging information via a personal health record system. The demonstrations will also feature monitoring of patient radiation doses, generation of radiology reports using structured templates and RadLex terminology, while also demonstrating teaching files and clinical trial studies.

RSNA Image Share, a network designed to help patients take control of their medical images and reports, entered into clinical practice last Septermber. The network facilitates access to imaging exams for patients and physicians, potentially reducing unnecessary examinations, minimizing patient radiation exposure and enabling better informed medical decisions.

The project was launched in 2009 through a $4.7 million contract with the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) to build a secure, patient-centric medical imaging sharing network based on common open-standards architecture that would enable patients to control access to their information through personal health records (PHR) without relying on CDs.

"The idea of RSNA Image Share is to improve quality, safety and efficiency while engaging patients and families in their own care," said the project's principal investigator David S. Mendelson, MD, chief of clinical informatics at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City and a member of the RSNA Radiology Informatics Committee. "We are letting patients know the network is available and inviting them to sign up if interested."

RSNA is overseeing development of the Internet-based network for sharing images and reports at five pilot institutions. Mount Sinai was the first to accept patients. The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., University of California San Francisco, University of Chicago Medical Center, and University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore are also part of the network.

Participating sites will also educate patients on establishing PHR accounts with selected providers that will enable patients to retrieve, view, archive and share medical images, reports and other medical documents, creating a detailed medical history accessible through any secure Internet connection.

To ensure patient privacy, the project was modeled on the type of security systems used by banks. Patients are given an eight-digit code and then create a password or PIN known only to them.

After signing into the network, patients follow a series of steps that tell a component of the system, called the Edge Server, to retrieve their reports and images. Patients can select those they would like to share with their healthcare team from a "jacket" of imaging records.

"There is a 72-hour delay intentionally built into the process to ensure that the patient's physician sees new imaging results before the patient does, enabling the doctor to be prepared to have a discussion with the patient," Mendelson said.

In coming years, project investigators will work on developing direct transfer of images for immediate accessibility – necessary, for example, if a patient is flown into a trauma center from another facility.