Telemedicine

Italian GPs get digital x-rays online

Carestream Health and Italy’s San Salvatore Hospital have announced the development of a new radiology information system module that enables GPs to book digital x-ray examinations and get results back online. The Italian-language module allows GPs to directly book digital x-ray examinations for their patients and receive the results back on their PC. As well as providing faster tests and results for the patients it cuts the number of trips they must make to San Salvatore hospital. The first project of its kind in Italy, a pilot study is currently underway involving 60 GPs with plans to have the system fully operational with 90 doctors by the middle of 2009. Initially the project involves doctors linked to San Salvatore Hospital, which is in the Province of L’Aquila in Italy’s Abruzzo region. When a doctor identifies the need to carry out a routine X-ray he completes the order form online, indicating a proposed examination date. Once the hospital receives the proposal it processes it based on the level of urgency and planned workflow within the radiology department. The requesting doctor receives an immediate response of date and time for the x-ray. Once the examination is carried out the doctor receives feedback about the examination, together with the accompanying report and the images. “We have set up a type of computerised round trip between the hospital and the GPs,” said Professor Carlo Masciocchi, director of radiology at San Salvatore de L’Aquila. “GPs can either book the investigation directly from their PC or ask the hospital to do it. In return, they receive the date of the examination to be notified to the patient. One of the aims of the project is to open-up clinician debate and dialogue on the relevance of each type of examination. The RIS module is developed to enable each patient to be paired with the referring physician and provide the hospital with relevant data about each examination request. Roberto Marzetti, general manager of San Salvatore Hospital, commented: “We have overcome initial uncertainty from GPs with this ambitious project and the relationship with Carestream Health has been the keystone. Carestream Health implemented our RIS/PACS system in 2005, becoming operational within the first month and the hospital completely filmless within one year.”

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