The challenges were significant. Medical imaging systems at CHU-Bordeaux were spread across three separate hospitals, each with its own radiology network and patient identification system. A financial incentive built into the program called for part of the funding to come from savings on film expenses by the conversion to digital images.
CHU-Bordeaux standardised systems using a framework called Radiology Scheduled Workflow (SWF) from the non-profit organisation Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) that established consistency for imaging data while also coordinating work processes.
Two other IHE integration profiles were implemented for consistent presentation of images (CPI) and for key image note (KIN), which allows radiologists and referring physicians to tag specific images with comments to increase critical communication.
“One of the added values of the imaging network is the ability of clinical services to select and prioritise the most important images for a patient,” explained Cristina Bertini, Manager for the Medical Imaging Network at CHU-Bordeaux, adding that a physician can view all images for a patient at any time, as well as seeing the images highlighted by a radiologist.
“This selection is indispensible in light of the tremendous numbers of images being generated by PET, SPECT, CT, MRI and ultrasound,” she said.
The roll out of the core radiology network began in 2004 with the South Hospital group, followed by the Pellegrin Hospital group in 2005 and finally the Saint-André group in 2006. The final phase of connecting all wards for all imaging modalities with a single system, including nuclear medicine was completed at the end of 2007.