Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Adding spice to teleradiology

CHILI, a groundbreaking system that is compliant with the Medical Devices Directive, is a workstation for reviewing a wide-range of medical images with teleradiology functions. Both physicians and patients will benefit from reductions in time and economic cost for diagnosis and therapy.
Adding spice to teleradiology
Teleradiology is an electronic means of transmitting radiographic images and supplementary text between different sites. The image transmission is performed digitally for the purposes of presentation, analysis and on-line discussion between physicians for interpretation and consultation on results.

Steinbeis-Transferzentrum Medizinische Informatik (STZ-MI) in Heidelberg, a German transfer center for new technologies in the field of medical informatics, which specialises in Teleradiology, produced CHILI. The system development is based on the experience acquired from the successful Teleradiology Project MEDICUS-2, which was a collaboration between the STZ-MI and the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg.

CHILI's image modality integrates image data from various types of sources, such as Computerized Tomography, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Cardiac Catheterization, video camera and ultrasound units. For each image file, personal data, such as patient name, date of birth, identification number, type of examination, date, series number, etc. is included.

Taking into account the data privacy requirements of German law (Bundesdatenschutzgesetz, BDSG) and the technical aspects of data security, which have been defined by the Information Technology Security Manual of the Commission of the European Union, data can be transmitted automatically either on-line or at a predefined time using either the system data protocol or other technology providers for electronic data (DICOM or e-mail). On the basis of the research results in human-computer interaction and medical style guide, the system provides a medical user-friendly graphical interface, within which even persons with little computer experience can also spontaneously work. Particularly, the teleconference feature enables the participating partners to present the shared images and perform many different actions. The execution of all operations is simultaneous for all users and visible at all sites.

The consequent application benefits from the introduction of CHILI are evident. With its teleradiology features, it facilitates the transmission of patient images as digital files instead of films, reducing the cost of film material. Since, the referring physicians have access to the image files at any time at their teleradiology workstation, transportation requirements for patients and radiologists between hospitals will be minimised while additional examinations and tests will be fewer. Thus, current expenses will be considerably reduced. The faster mode of information flow and the image delivery times provide a further reduction in costs. For example, since the diagnostic process is increased, hospitalisation times of patients become shorter.

Since CHILI is a modular system, it can be tailored to customer needs.

It is important to mention that the interdisciplinary discussions will promote a climate of cooperation between experts. This is not only significant, but also necessary, especially for remote areas where accessibility to medical care is difficult. Focusing on improving the timely diagnosis and therapy, CHILI may be expanded and optimised
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