The World Wide Web provides a mechanism for integrating information from a wide variety of sources and for distributing the information to a wide array of users. With appropriate security, the Web is destined to become an important tool for integrating and distributing medical information. Phase I of the project will evaluate Web-based distribution for the Nuclear Medicine Division at the Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. The Nuclear Medicine Information System and the OpenPACS image archive are already equipped with Web servers. During Phase I, a Web server for the RTAS voice dictation system will be implemented, the integrated mutimedia (voice, image, cine and text) reporting will be evaluated, and the target product will be designed. The Phase I results will serve as a proof of principle for a more general radiologic multimedia information access system. The target system will be table driven allowing flexibility in interfacing to a large variety of systems and vendors. Radiology information is maintained in three general types of systems: Digital Voice Dictation, Picture Archiving and Communications Systems (PACS), and databases, Radiology Information Systems (RIS). The proposed product will provide a tool for integrated access to the many systems which provide these types of data in a typical Radiology Department. Applets downloaded from the server to Web browsers can be used to extend the capabilities of the browsers, e.g. providing radiologic specific display operations. Providing integrated multimedia access to radiologic information has the potential for providing better communication between Radiologist and other health care workers using inexpensive, generally available, Web client software and hardware platforms.
In Radiology, it is necessary to provide referring physicians with all the available information on their patient's in a timely fashion. Scheduling information, the diagnostic image, the dictated report, and the typed report must all be easily accessed from workstations both inside and outside the hospital. Every radiology department that wishes to retain or increase market share in their region will want to provide this technology as a service to their referring physicians.