Teleradiology used to have one short, simple description: It was the electronic transmission of medical images to a remote location for reading. As clinical image and information systems lend themselves more and more to integration, however, and as telecommunications gain sophistication, telerad has become exponentially more versatile. Today’s systems exist in flavors ranging from campus-wide to worldwide, transporting images from every modality via many types of conveyances.

Here’s a look at innovative ways in which healthcare providers are putting telerad through its paces.

Ultrasound gets it wings
The Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio has a High-Risk Obstetrics Department that provides prenatal diagnostic services to women throughout northeastern Ohio. In 2001, the department set up a three-point network using Acuson Sequoia ultrasound systems (from Siemens Medical Solutions, Malvern, Pa.) linked with an Acuson KinetDx information system. The system is used to examine images of fetal defects, including central nervous system, cardiac, musculoskeletal, gastrointestinal, renal and urogenital.

Stephen Emery, M.D., is the director of obstetric ultrasound at the Cleveland Clinic’s Section of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He explains how the system works.

“There are two sites at the main campus and one at Hillcrest Hospital [15 miles away in Mayfield Heights] where we perform ultrasound. Each site sends information to a server. From that server you have access from any workstation to review the other sites’ images. My partners could be at the main campus and I could be at one of the satellites, and they can call me and say, ‘I just saw this heart, take a look at it and tell me what you think.’ I can pull up the still images as well as the cine clips, and render my opinion on the spot.”

Emery says the system vastly improves the group’s ability to generate reports quickly, access priors easily, and review images and reports side by side. “We’re paperless and filmless now,” he says. “It’s all done through the workstations connected to the server. And it allows us to keep track of patient information because it’s a database, too.”

Please refer to the March 2003 issue for the complete story. For information on article reprints, contact Martin St. Denis