TORONTO, ON – Thanks to a cooperative effort showcasing RamSoft PACS, a Luxembourg-based nonprofit organization has begun to strengthen diagnostic imaging in several undeveloped countries.
Téléradiologie Sans Frontiéres (TSF), also known as Teleradiology Without Borders, began the effort in 2007 by successfully implementing the RamSoft PACS system, which has rapidly begun to transform the process of interpreting x-rays and CT images.
TSF was established by Jean-Baptiste Niedercorn, M.D., of Brussels, Belgium, and Gérald Wajnapel M.D, of Paris, France. Recognizing the need for experienced radiologists in countries such as Cameroon, Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the two men decided to do something about it.
Their solution was TSF, a volunteer organization whose radiologists review images transmitted to them via the PowerServer PACS and Gateway Router, both developed by RamSoft.
Today, medical personnel in developing countries no longer need transmit x-rays in e-mail attachments. Instead, PACS software donated by RamSoft is enabling them to quickly transmit digitized x-rays, images photographed using high-megapixel digital cameras, and CT images recorded to DVD. The result has been enhanced diagnostic capabilities, faster care and improved outcomes.
“Dr. Niedercorn wanted to bring the knowledge of expert radiologists to regions of Africa where their expertise was desperately needed, and we saw that we could help,” said Peter Szabla, Implementation Manager for RamSoft. “The bottom line was that we wanted to make a difference, and the whole RamSoft team shared this sentiment from the very beginning.”
TSF uses four readers based in three countries—France, Luxembourg and Belgium—to evaluate x-ray and CT images, perhaps five to 10 difficult cases exported each week by centers that use the PACS. The process is organized, with reports submitted automatically.
“Our service is very different from a conventional teleradiology service, where pictures and studies come from many hospitals to a central point,” Niedercorn said.
Using a standard PC and PACS software, users log on to the internet. Images are transmitted to the central data center with the push of a button. Radiologists interpret images sent to them from a specific country and automatically placed in their worklist.
“The nice thing about the RamSoft PACS is that all you need is a computer, router, internet access and a login capability,” Niedercorn said. “Everything is stored online. If a computer is lost or damaged, it is easy to recover the images.”
Thanks to TSF and RamSoft, large files are no longer divided into 10 or 20 smaller ones, with readers required to piece them together. The RamSoft PACS enables the smooth transmission of large files that upload unobtrusively in the background—often while readers are completing their normal workload.
Essential to the effort is the ability of the RamSoft PACS to transform JPEG images into DICOM format. Because x-rays are photographed and recreated as JPEG files, a PACS with a conversion capability was essential to TSF. Niedercorn also wanted dictation and automated reporting capabilities, and RamSoft filled the bill.
What he received was a PACS package that has given users a radiology capability they couldn’t have acquired any other way—moving them into the 21st century with relative swiftness and little expense. As a result, needless surgeries are being prevented, necessary surgeries are being confirmed, and patients are being treated with speed and efficacy.
“The PACS is very important to us,” Niedercorn said. “We like to believe that we’re giving these countries some tools for practicing better medicine. And, the RamSoft technology gives us the capacity to receive many more images. With more readers, who knows what we might be able to accomplish in the future?”
To RamSoft, it all comes down to “social responsibility.”
“We understand that the goal of any business is to create value for its shareholders, but we also believe that companies have a social responsibility to improve the lives of others in its own community and around the world,” Szabla said. “We are proud to partner with this not-for-profit organization in fulfilling our role as a good corporate citizen, and we believe our customers recognize and appreciate our efforts.”
According to Szabla, the TSF partnership is only the beginning. RamSoft is committed to helping others as opportunities arise.
“We are always looking for ways to help others, and our work with TSF is only one of several initiatives that we have going,” he said. “For awhile now we’ve been assisting some research and teaching schools with their imaging needs, and now more organizations around the world have expressed interest in working with us. The time and effort that we donate is minimal compared with the positive and lasting impact we are having on improving healthcare, and we’re glad to help in some way.”
RamSoft is a leading healthcare IT software and services company that is dedicated to creating and delivering award-winning medical imaging and radiology solutions to its clients in the U.S. and around the world. The company’s goal is to enable imaging facilities, radiology centers, ambulatory and acute-care practices to offer a superior level and quality of patient care with the affordable and feature-rich PowerServer™ Series of PACS, RIS/PACS, teleradiology, and patient information management systems. A free 30-day trial of RamSoft’s DICOM Gateway Router software, built on the same platform as RamSoft PowerServer PACS, is available at www.ramsoft.com.
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