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Developing a RIS/PACS for a Kenyan Hospital

Developing a and Picture Archiving and Communications System (RIS/PACS) for a Kenyan Hospital

RIS/PACS systems can greatly improve patient care and physician education. However, these features come at a high cost not attainable in most developing countries. Our goal was to explore low-cost options for basic RIS/PACS. We were able to design and implement a low cost RIS/PACS solution that was used for thousands of studies. Future work will expand on the functionality and reliability of this low-cost solution.

The Problem

In developed countries the advantages of RIS/PACS systems have been clearly established. However for developing countries, millions of patients go without the benefits of comparison examinations. Education in all aspects of is enhanced by exposure to a large, comprehensive case load. Due to the high cost of film, training programs in developing countries often lack the necessary robust teaching file. Inexpensive has the opportunity to provide improved patient care and dramatically enhance radiology education in developing countries.

The Solution

A database to track patient and report information was created using MS Access® and a digital camera. Installed in a teaching hospital in a developing country, the system remained in use until hardware failure 6 months after installation. By that time over 3000 studies had been stored in the database. We utilized the institution’s existing internet connection to provide e-mail correspondence with radiologists at Indiana University. Cases shared through e-mail have been used for teaching at IU.

One of the major difficulties facing any system is user acceptance. The users of our system at home and abroad have embraced it from the beginning. One year later, we continue to receive e-mail from Kenya requesting continuation of the project. We consider this unequivocal proof-of-concept.

We are developing an open-source solution built with a robust data model, existing libraries, high-level development tools, and standards-based network communication. This second generation system will support customized web-based or stand-alone clients.

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