JDI celebrates 20 years of digital imaging

May 2, 2003

As digital imaging passes through a number of anniversaries this year, the Journal of Digital Imaging (JDI) is recognizing these milestones by reprinting several original papers, accompanied by new introductions.One seminal study, "An all-digital

As digital imaging passes through a number of anniversaries this year, the Journal of Digital Imaging (JDI) is recognizing these milestones by reprinting several original papers, accompanied by new introductions.

One seminal study, "An all-digital nuclear medicine department" (Parker JA et al, 1983), reported on the development of the first such department, at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. The companion introduction brings us up to date.

"While an all-digital department of nuclear medicine first went online at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in 1983, certain design principles remain true," said Dr. Gerald M. Kolodny, Beth Israel's director of Nuclear Medicine.

These principles include use of standard off-the-shelf hardware and software, which not only lowers costs but also limits the time and aggravation of debugging software and service problems. This makes connections between many different systems easy and seamless, Kolodny said.

Another enduring principle is maintainance of the ability to communicate with a wide range of nuclear medicine cameras from different manufacturers and the ability to display and analyze data from all of them.

"We were the first to use standard modems, then the Internet, and finally cable modems to do teleradiology in an ongoing routine clinical setting," Kolodny said. "This has been possible because of our insistence on using standard off-the-shelf hardware and software for connectivity, and not proprietary software and equipment."

Beth Israel also insisted on at least three, and sometimes four, levels of backup and redundancy. This has resulted in a miniPACS design: Each section of the radiology department has its own stand-alone PACS that is able to communicate with any other miniPACS.

"This redundancy has proven itself as we have effortlessly stored over 17 years of data, with no meaningful downtime," Kolodny said. "All studies, no matter how old, are and have always been accessible in less than one second."

Other landmark papers scheduled for republication are currently available on JDI's Web site:
? Prototype medical image management system (MIMS) at the University of Pennsylvania: software design considerations (Seshadri SB et al, 1987)
? Assessment of the integration of a HIS/RIS with a PACS (Levine BA et al, 1990)
? Digital radiology at the University of California, Los Angeles: a feasibility study (Huang HK et al, 1983)
? The digital imaging workstation (Arenson RL et al, 1990)
? PACS experience as a motivation for a campus-wide picture network ( Jost RG et al, 1986)
? PACS workbench at Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology (MIR) (Blaine GJ et al, 1983)