Digital X-Ray imaging has brought obvious benefits to health care, but, as with all new technologies, it both requires and leads to changes in behaviour and processes, some obvious and some less so. The issues include cost and productivity, the need to acquire new skills, radiation doses, overuse, and image quality. Moreover, some of the ethical and legal issues surrounding teleradiology remain unclear.
Physicians have long been accustomed to viewing and interpreting images on film. Film is now being replaced with digital images in the same way as film cameras are being replaced with digital cameras. Digital X-Ray imaging does away with film processing, and the images can be viewed just minutes after exposure via computer networks, to be seen by many people at once, in many different places. So what are the issues surrounding the transition to digital imaging?
One big advance of digital technology is, of course, that it enables the electronic transfer of images to any location. This timely production and transmission of images gives physicians greater access to them during consultations.12 The option of remote interpretation of images has the potential to ease the burden on hard pressed radiology departments. Images taken in short staffed departments at night can be reported by remote fully staffed departments in the day.