OAK BROOK, Ill. (Nov. 20, 2009) - The Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) announced today that it was awarded a $4.7 million contract from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) to design and launch an Internet-based network for patient-controlled sharing of medical images. The network will facilitate access to imaging exams for patients and physicians, potentially reducing unnecessary examinations, minimizing patient radiation exposure and enabling better informed medical decisions.
"The goal of the project is to provide patients with the interoperability necessary for easy, secure access to medical data and control of medical information," said principal investigator David S. Mendelson, M.D., professor of radiology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City and co-chair of the Board of Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE®) International, an initiative by healthcare professionals and industry to improve the way computer systems in healthcare share information.
The network will be based on Cross-enterprise Document Sharing for Imaging (XDS-I), an integration profile developed under IHE. XDS-I is part of a family of IHE profiles developed to enable sharing of a variety of medical documents and data across a group of affiliated enterprises.
"These profiles have been embraced by national electronic health record (EHR) programs worldwide, including the U.S. Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and Canada Health Infoway," Dr. Mendelson said. "The pilot will highlight the role medical imaging should play in any comprehensive EHR program."
In the first year of the two-year pilot, the aim is to establish image sharing in the clinical domain. Several medical research centers, including Mount Sinai, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., the University of California - San Francisco, the University of Chicago and the University of Maryland in Baltimore, are set to participate.
"Eight more research centers will be added in the second year, along with a number of smaller community satellite sites," Dr. Mendelson said. "At that time, the sites will, with patient consent, be able to share medical images and reports for clinical and research purposes."
Participating sites will also educate patients on personal health records (PHR), including establishing PHR accounts with selected providers that will enable patients to retrieve, view, archive and share medical images, reports and other medical documents, creating a detailed medical history accessible through any secure Internet connection.
"The network will help improve longitudinal health records, provide an exam history to reduce the number of redundant examinations, and reduce radiation exposure to the individual and the population at large," Dr. Mendelson said.
The IHE initiative was launched in 1997 by RSNA and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. It now has nearly 300 member organizations, including sponsoring organizations in North America, Asia, Australia and Europe. More information is available at www.ihe.net.
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