Older imaging studies necessary for clinical routine

The folks at EMC and Hitachi will love this one, the age long debate on the ‘lifespan’ of a radiological image have been ‘resolved’.

One of the main reason for PACS implementation is the ability to ‘instantly” access prior images and hospitals administrator are forever wondering how long these images should be kept.

Some guidelines recommended 7 years for adults and 21 years of paediatrics, others suggest that medical images should be stored forever, the decision towards the retention period affects a couple of decisions, among these are

  • The upfront and operational cost of adding storage (also , data on spinning disk not being used = waste of aircon and electricity)
  • The scalability of the storage architecture designed / proposed (which can translate to higher upfront cost for high end equipment)
  • How much data to migrate when choosing / replacing a PACS.

The results of a study presented at the recent RSNA (read more here) reveals the breakdown for images access for clinical routine;

  • 48 percent – studies between one and two years of age
  • 22 percent – studies between two and three years old
  • 13 percent – studies between three and four years old
  • 9 percent – studies between four and five years old
  • 6 percent – studies between five and six years old
  • 2 percent – studies between six and seven years old

Hope this piece of information can help you ‘size up’ your PACS 🙂

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