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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

What do you do with all those radiology CD-ROMs?

In the past, doctors, especially surgeons, would request radiologic images on films and would review them on light boxes in their offices. However, in the past 5-7 years, actual films have become somewhat of a rarity. Instead, CT scans and other images can be viewed either over a secure internet connection or via a CD-ROM that contains the images and the software necessary to view them. Personally I have found this changed approach to the viewing of radiological studies as a huge plus, with one exception.

What are we supposed to do with all the CD-ROMs that patients hand to us?

When I had paper charts, I used to simply staple the jacket that contained the disk to the patient's file. This worked ok. But now I have electronc charts. So now what?

Here's how I do it now.
  1. Place the disk in the drive
  2. Go to My Computer and open it up
  3. Right click on the icon for the image viewer in the DVD-CD reader
  4. Click Explore to open the files on the CD-ROM
  5. Select ALL, then Copy
  6. Create and label a new folder in the pertinent patient's folder
  7. Paste the files into the new folder
And now you have the images saved and you can shred the CD-ROM.

Alternatively, you can ignore the CD-ROMs since you are under no obligation to save them in your files. The radiologist is the one responsible for ensuring that the images remain available for the time period specified by state laws.

However, I find that when comparing old studies it is nice to have images saved in a location that allows for rapid and effortless recall.