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    23 February 2008

    "The decline in positioning skills" (according to a radiographer)

    A post from the blog of a radiographer who is now a PACS adminstrator:
    ....recently I have noticed that positioning skills have been declining or Technologists just don’t seem to care much anymore.

    I have pondered as to why this seems to be happening and have come up with a few theories that I will list below in no particular order as I think they all have a part in the decline of the skills.....
    In summary, the main reasons he gives are:
    1. Modern radiographer training.
    2. The effects of PACS.
    3. Radiologists accepting poor quality images.
    4. CT and MRI (discussed in the comments to the main article).
    Read more here.
    (From A Ferret's VIew of PACS and Life).

    The picture above comes from this site which is worth a look.

    15 February 2008

    Microsoft PACS, RIS, and more ...

    Microsoft have entered the healthcare market in a big way with a family of products called Amalga.

    I found this out yesterday via a post on Dr Dalai's blog. It's not just RIS/PACS: Amalga is a "Unified Intelligence System" for healthcare organisations that includes a HIS (Hospital Information System) "built around an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) that includes complete patient and bed management, laboratory, Medication Management, Radiology Information System/Picture Archiving and Communication System (RIS/PACS), pathology, financial accounting, materials management, and human resource systems".

    It does look rather interesting. Wait and see.

    13 February 2008

    Ultrasound reports: attitudes of referring clinicians to style and content

    My colleague, ultrasonographer Leigh Baldock, presented the findings of a survey she carried out as part of her MSc dissertation. This is what our referrers want from us in our ultrasound reports:
    • Clinical details re-stated at the beginning of the report.
    • Comments on the technical quality of the examination, especially if the examination is suboptimal.
    • Mention all organs that have been examined.
    • Measurements of abnormal organs, giving a normal range and the measurement of the corresponding normal organ for those with a bilateral presentation.
    • Avoid the use of ultrasound terminology unless it is known that the clinician receiving the report has knowledge of such terminology.
    • Relate to the clinical question.
    • Include significant incidental findings.
    • Include differential diagnoses, but not too many.
    • Suggest further steps in the investigation of the patient.
    • Give advice on further patient management if the referring clinician is a GP or a medical clinician.
    • End with a conclusion.
    • Be clear and give a comprehensive description even if the findings are normal.
    • There was no substantial difference between the preferences of GPs, medical and surgical referrers, although surgeons do not appear to value recommendations for further management of patients.
    • All groups of clinicians are happy for radiologists/sonographers to arrange follow-up examinations, but examinations should not be cancelled without discussion with the referring clinician.
    These findings are similar to those in previous published studies.

    Leigh will be leaving us shortly to work in Colchester, and we'll miss her. Good luck, and thanks for everything, Leigh.

    12 February 2008

    New version of Carl's Table

    We have three Carl's Tables, and like them very much. Now there's a new version, available in Spring 2008, with even more features, such as electric monitor adjustment, independent task lighting, and even an "air circulation system" with two adjustable air ports, like the air conditioning in a car. Very nice, but at US$12950 it's just slightly more than we can afford right now.

    More details on the Anthro site, including comparison charts, and a video of Carl himself playing the banjo.

    9 February 2008

    New high energy ultrasound technique improves visualisation of liver tumours

    A new ultrasound technique developed at Duke University known as Acoustic Radiation Force Impulse imaging (ARFI) improves visualisation of liver tumours by using the elasticity or stiffness of the tumour to improve contrast between it and the surrounding tissue.
    (Credit: Image courtesy of Pratt School of Engineering, Duke University)

    Siemens are working on a prototype.

    There have been several articles about this in radiology websites, but I thought this one, from a non-medical scientific site, provided a nice summary:

    This is the article:
    In vivo visualization of abdominal malignancies with acoustic radiation force elastography
    B J Fahey et al 2008 Phys. Med. Biol. 53 279-293

    Global helium supplies running out

    One fifth of the world's helium supplies are used in for cooling the superconducting magnets used in MRI scanners. Now supplies of helium are running out.

    As it says in this article, Goodbye Helium, Goodbye Brainscans.

    Here's another article.