Now playing: Hybrid DICOM-compliant DVD

December 4, 2002

An increasing number of healthcare facilities have incorporated digital media such as CDs and DVDs to improve service and provide patients and referring physicians with the results of imaging studies.While most systems that create CDs or DVDs include

An increasing number of healthcare facilities have incorporated digital media such as CDs and DVDs to improve service and provide patients and referring physicians with the results of imaging studies.

While most systems that create CDs or DVDs include the software for reviewing the images on standard computers, they usually lack the supporting explanations and guidance necessary for patients to understand the results, said Dr. Osman Ratib, vice chair of information systems at the University of California, Los Angeles.

At infoRAD, Ratib exhibited a prototype of a hybrid DVD-encoding format with video streams that can be reviewed on any consumer DVD player.

"This is a proof of concept," Ratib said. "With patient consumerism, more and more patients need the imaging data to get second opinions and to be more involved."

Ratib believes he's come up with a way to convey information to the patient that improves on the current method of distributing CD-ROMs.

"CDs are popular, but they're still intimidating to patients because you need a computer to look at the data," he said. "We wanted to take it one step further and create a DVD that can play on any commercial DVD player in your living room. Not everyone is willing to use a computer, but a DVD is fairly straightforward."

DVDs are also more powerful than CDs.

"You can do menus, like you select scenes when watching movies. You can add a lot of things on a DVD and use your remote control as your pointing device. You don't need computer savvy to go from one selection box to another," Ratib said.

With Ratib's prototype, prerecorded video clips and slide shows are incorporated along with patient studies at the time of creation of the individual disks.

"The addition of the video material allows radiologists to provide the necessary explanations, disclaimers, and guidance to patients regarding the results of the study," he said. "This is particularly useful for screening procedures where results should always be accompanied by education material and explanations of the findings."

Images intended for the patient are compressed, and no manipulation is possible, but the system also stores images in DICOM format, so the original data are available to physicians who may wish to view them on a DICOM viewer. The system also addresses the problem of digitizing reports.

"If you digitize text on CD it's hard to read, but with this DVD prototype I used something that's part of the DVD video mode: credits," Ratib said.

Now the report rolls by just like movie credits, and may be stopped at any time by pushing the pause button on the remote.