Tele-radiology is a means of electronically transmitting radiographic images and text from one location to another using Information and Communication Technology for the purpose of interpretation and consultation.

Tele-radiology system consists of at least three major components:
  • An image sending station
  • A transmission network
  • A receiving/image review station.

1. Equipment required at the Image Sending Station. There are three categories of image digitizers used for tele-radiology purposes.
  • TV camera digitizers, ("low-end" products)
  • Charged Coupled Device (CCD) scanner digitizers ("middle of the line" products)
  • Laser scanner digitizers ("top-of-the-line" products)

All three film digitizers perform the same basic function: the equipment operator inputs the radiological film to the scanner which converts the analog image of the film to digital information. The main differences among digitizers are quality of image resolution, ease of use and cost.

Once the film digitizer has converted the image to a digital format, the data is sent to the modem upon command of the equipment operator. The modem is the control device which converts digital data into electrical impulses that are sent along the transmission network.

2. Transmission network: The transmission network can be ISDN, satellite or fiber optic. The speed of the transmissions depends upon the transmission modes.

3. Receiving/image review station: A receiving/ image review station consists of:
  • Network interface (modem)

  • Personal computer with storage medium (e.g. hard disk drive)

  • One or two TV monitors

  • Optional hard copy device printer

Transmission Network

The modem on the review station receives the electrical impulses from the transmission network and converts them back to digital image data. These data are then sent via the modem to the computer disk for storage. Once the image data are stored, the radiologist at the station can access the image via the computer and display it on the TV monitor. The radiologist then performs software manipulation functions to "enhance" the image. Software functions vary, but almost all have the capability of window/ level and magnification of images.

If a printer is attached to the receiving station, hard copy images can be printed. Two types of hard copy imagers are normally used; a multiformat camera or a laser printer.

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