Wireless LAN-based mini PACS could minimize image transfer delays for portable modalities

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SEATTLE—Wireless LAN-based mini PACS could help reduce the time interval in storage and transfer of images obtained by portable imaging modalities, and in the effective and rapid treatment of patient undergoing portable image examinations, according to Hak Jong Lee, MD, during a Scientific Session presentation Thursday at the Society of Imaging Informatics in Medicine (SIIM) conference.

Many portable imaging modalities have a time delay for sending images to the main PACS server due to the network connection requirements for image transfer. The delay in sending or transferring images means a delay in medical decision and ultimately, patient care, said Hak during his presentation “The Impact of Wireless LAN-based Mini PACS for Portable Imaging Modalities.”

The purpose of the study undertaken by Hak and colleagues of Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, was to develop a wireless LAN-based mini-PACS and to analyze its effect in image transfer between portable imaging devices to the main PACS server.

Hak said that while there are several reports about using wireless devices to retrieve images from PACS, the systems are not frequently used by many hospitals, due in part to the lack of information on the impact of wireless devices on clinical workflow.

Using a laptop equipped with wireless LAN, the authors developed wireless mini-PACS which had a DICOM modality worklist and DICOM storage server modules. From May to August 2007, 112 portable examinations were evaluated. Of 112, 62 exams were done with wireless LAN-based mini PACS and 50 were done without. To evaluate the impact of the wireless LAN-based mini PACS to productivity or workflow, the time intervals were obtained from image acquisitions made by portable modalities and sent to the main PACS server. Hak and colleagues analyzed the mean time delay and standard deviations in both cases and the statistical analysis was performed using t-test.

According to the results, the mean time interval from the image acquisition to the image storage in the main server was 5 minutes and 42.4 seconds using the wireless LAN-based mini PACS, with a standard deviation of 509.2 seconds.

When the wireless mini PACS was not used, the mean time interval was 38 minutes and 25.5 seconds, with a standard deviation of 1371.8 seconds. The mean time interval was statistically different in two groups (t-test, P <0.05).