Radiology's big move to eliminate CDs

Updated: Jul 1

Most radiology departments and patients still use CDs to share medical images--in fact, you've probably used one recently enough. Did you know, however, that there is also a growing movement to promote digital alternatives?

It makes sense. Think about how we share photos today. At the click or tap of a button, you have access to more information than you could possibly need. Why can't we approach our medical data the same way?

The problem with CDs

CDs became popular in the 1990s as a superior alternative to large, bulky images on film. They also helped empower patients, improving access to their own health images. Many patients actually still request medical images on a CD.

But this can be a difficult request for radiology staff to fulfill.

More recent computer models no longer have built-in CD drives. Radiology staff also may not have the time to add images from a CD to their health system’s PACS. The sender’s CD viewer also may not be compatible with the receiver’s.

Removing CDs from the radiology workflow

Several organizations and vendors are promoting more secure, digital alternatives to CDs for sharing medical images. In their article “Digging the Ditch,” Radiology Today looked at some of these efforts.

  • The American College of Radiology (ACR)’s Informatics Commission is collaborating with the ACR Data Science Institute and the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) to create a task force focused on the move to #DitchTheDisk. This task force will consider how radiologists can encourage their institutions to transition away from CDs to secure, cloud-based file sharing.

  • The trade association CommonWell Health Alliance is collaborating with Carequality, an initiative of The Sequoia Project to build a common interoperability framework, to increase national health IT connectivity.

  • We at Novarad are also participating in the move to eliminate CD usage with a cloud-based image and data sharing solution (CryptoChart). Our HIPAA-compliant solution uses a small, networked router and a compact QR code printer. Viewing health images requires a single, time-sensitive QR code.

CryptoChart can be set up in minutes and requires no specialized training to use. If you think your workflow could benefit from QR codes instead of CD-burning, we'd encourage you to give it a try. (If you don't like it after the first month of use, you'll get your money back.)

Ultimately, although CDs have a long and storied history in medicine, we think it's time for them to take a backseat to the technology of today. The important thing is to progress and make things easier for patients and providers alike!

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