Mobile mammography goes digital

Financed by the Ministry of Health, nine regional screening organisations arrange and implement the Dutch national breast cancer screening programme, in which, every two years, all women from 50-75 years of age are invited for a free mammogram at one of the 62 screening points, of which 56 are mobile vans.

Photo: Mobile mammography goes digital

With nine vans, including a new digitally equipped van, BBNN is responsible for the country’s northern area. About 80% (84 % in the BBNN region) of all women have registered at one of the screening points in their neighbourhood.

The Dutch BBNN (Breast Cancer Screening Organization) added the new mobile mammography van to its fleet of eight mobile breast cancer screening vans that visit 229 screening points in the country’s northern region. This van is equipped with Agfa’s Embrace DR system, which sends mammograms in DICOM format to a central PACS database for diagnosis in one of three regional reporting units.

Herman H Meerholz, General Manager of BBNN said that Agfa’s Embrace DR system, which combines selenium detector technology with Agfa’s MUSICA2 image processing software, covers the complete workflow of the organisation’s mobile screening programme.

‘Using GPRS (General Packet Radio Service, the latest mobile telephony generation) technology, the radiology technician in the van will retrieve a customer list from a central database for each screening point. During an  examination the technician can annotate and prepare images on the Agfa Embrace viewing station and store the images in DICOM format on a removable hard disk, storing 80 examinations. Each day, this is transported to a nearby reporting unit for integration on the central PACS server. The exams can then be accessed for diagnosis from one of the three reporting units in our region.’

Further enhancements, such as CAD (Computer Assisted Detection) technology, will be integrated in future releases. Using the Agfa Embrace DR system will result in a more consistent image quality, a more reliable workflow and noticeable labour cost savings, Agfa points out. Results from this pilot project, which commenced in June, will be assessed at the end of the year.


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