New Digital Image Storage System


Patients and doctors in Perth will now benefit from a new, highly advanced digital storage facility that securely saves all patients’ medical imaging in full quality for a period of at least seven years.

Perth Radiological Clinic has made a substantial investment in new state-of-the-art long-term data storage facilities. The improvements are likely to be of particular benefit for disorders requiring regular or long term image follow up, including oncology, breast disorders, neurological conditions and post-surgical surveillance. It will also be an extremely valuable tool in medical trials, many of which are conducted on an ongoing basis at the practice.

Radiologist Dr Kit Frazer, from Perth Radiological Clinic, said the facility is an extension of an already comprehensive secure image storage system.

“Our original infrastructure enabled us to store images electronically for a variable amount of time at multiple sites. The new facilities allow for all new data from all of our suburban clinics and hospital departments to be kept for at least seven years on a secure and powerful network, which is already directly accessible to treating doctors whenever required. This ability is necessary as the industry continues to move from hard copy film to digital media,” Dr Frazer said.

“In the past, doctors usually had to rely on patients keeping copies of their previous films or data CDs, bringing them along whenever they visited their doctor or had follow up imaging. Apart from the inconvenience for both doctors and patients, imaging studies were often lost, forgotten or damaged. This is no longer a problem, as all data remains stored and accessible to doctors online. New CDs or hard film copies can even be generated if they are needed,” he said.

Dr Frazer said all imaging is stored in its original high resolution state, including high data volume modalities such as multi-slice CT, mammography and MRI.

“Other storage systems frequently delete or compress raw data after a variable period, with potential reduction of image quality and loss of diagnostic information. This can be important for subtle changes which may be lost on lower quality images and may adversely impact clinical outcome,” he said.

“Furthermore, the ongoing development of more advanced data post-processing and computer aided diagnosis techniques often allows additional information to be extracted from previous imaging as time goes by,” Dr Frazer said.

The new facility is linked to PRC Direct, an online data service with extensive connectivity between individual clinics and referring doctors, allowing rapid secure remote access to all current and previous patient imaging and reports from the practice, providing high quality software tools similar to those used by radiologists themselves, at no additional cost to referrers.

Dr Frazer said doctors can log on remotely from their own practices and view their patients’ scans and reports on line as soon as they occur, or at their own convenience.

“This makes diagnosis and treatment much more efficient. They will be able to easily compare to follow up imaging for many years in the future. This will be particularly beneficial for chronic conditions, such as cancer, as we’ll be more accurately able to determine if treatment is working.

The new facility also helps solve logistic problems from clinical and patient perspectives,” he said.

“Previously, digital images given to patients on CD could take substantial time and effort to download, import or copy. If a patient switches doctors locally, we can instantly give their new doctors access to their images at their request. Even if a patient moves interstate or overseas, we can give their new doctor direct access to their images, as well as providing them on disc.”

Perth Radiological Clinic has a strong commitment to providing the very best radiology services in WA, and has been operating for 60 years. It has suburban and hospital based branches throughout the Perth metropolitan area, including Subiaco, Joondalup Health Campus and the Mount Hospital.