CD data imports show growth, durability

November 30, 2009

If it’s round, has a hole in it, and isn’t a bagel or donut in the break room, chances are it’s a CD brought into the practice by a patient. According to Dr. Bradley Erickson from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, the use of compact discs to transfer diagnostic imaging data has seen a steady increase over the past decade.

If it's round, has a hole in it, and isn't a bagel or donut in the break room, chances are it's a CD brought into the practice by a patient. According to Dr. Bradley Erickson from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, the use of compact discs to transfer diagnostic imaging data has seen a steady increase over the past decade.

Image exchange on portable media is a two-part process. There's the part where image data is sent out and the part where image data is brought in.

"In the spirit of the holiday season, I have to say that it is better to give than to receive. Sending out a CD is a fairly easy thing to do," Erickson said in a presentation at the 2009 RSNA on Monday morning. "But bringing them into the system has been a much more divisive process."

He reported that more than 90% of image data coming in from the outside is being delivered on CDs. In order to ease the import of CD-based imaging data into their institution, Erickson's team wrote a CD-receive application.

The tool has brought 346,000 exams into the Mayo system, which has allowed metrics to be determined on the growth of CD utilization and statistics to be generated on the integrity of the imported data.

Erickson said they currently see a 0.2% rate of CDs with data integrity problems. These can range from a disc that is unreadable to CDs with the wrong patient ID or patient data on them. A CD data integrity problem of 0.2% may seem small, but it translates to four patients per day, or nearly 1400 patients annually, he said.

In order to verify the integrity of data on a CD, the Mayo workflow requires that a patient verify his or her demographic information with that on the CD. This step has allowed the group to catch most patient ID and patient data errors before they are brought into Mayo's EMR and PACS.

Erickson said that data CDs are showing up with greater frequency in his practice, at an almost 10% annual growth rate. And he expects they will enjoy a long life as an image data transfer medium.

"I was a little surprised that in about five years we went from 100% film to nearly zero," Erickson said. "I think it's going to be a lot longer than that for CDs, partly because it's inexpensive to produce CDs and a lot more expensive to produce film copies. I suspect it's going to be at least 10 years before we fully embrace Internet-based transfers."