Wireless LAN-based miniPACS boosts management of portable imaging devices

SEATTLE - A laptop equipped with wireless technology and miniPACS software can reduce transfer and storage time of images generated by portable imaging modalities, according to research presented at the 2008 Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine (SIIM) meeting.

"It could be helpful (in providing faster information to clinicians) about the status and treatment of emergency patients or intensive care patients who underwent follow-up examinations," said Dr. Hak Jong Lee of Seoul National University Bundang Hospital in South Korea. He presented the research Thursday during a scientific session.

The Seoul National University Bundang Hospital team sought to develop a wireless LAN-based miniPACS network and analyze its effect on the transfer of images from portable imaging modalities to the main PACS network. The researchers utilized a laptop computer with 802.11b wireless LAN functionality and incorporated internally developed DICOM modality and storage server modules.

The laptop can then be hooked up to a portable imaging modality, such as an ultrasound machine, Lee said. In addition to transmitting images from the modalities to the main PACS, the miniPACS software also transfers the examination worklist to the imaging modality by wirelessly communicating with the main PACS and electronic medical record (EMR) server.

The study team evaluated the system during 112 examinations performed on an ultrasound system from May 2007 to August 2007. Of the 112 exams, 62 were handled with the wireless miniPACS, while 50 were managed without the system. The researchers then measured the time interval from the image acquisition by portable ultrasound to the storage in the main PACS server.

The mean time interval from image acquisition to main PACS server storage was five minutes and 42.4 seconds (standard deviation [SD]: 509.2 seconds) when the wireless miniPACS was used, compared with 38 minutes and 25.5 seconds (SD: 1371.8 seconds) without. The differences were statistically significant (p < 0.001).

"A wireless LAN-based miniPACS could reduce the time interval of image storage and transfer to the main PACS, especially in exams of portable imaging modalities," Lee said.

By Erik L. Ridley
AuntMinnie.com staff writer
May 16, 2008

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