Radiology and the Cloud (IT Toolbox Blogs)

Something that is extremely important to modern medicine is radiology. Radiology refers to the use of radiation to create imagery. In the healthcare industry, radiology can refer to a number of different technologies such as X-ray, magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, ultrasounds and computerized axial tomography scans, or CAT scans for short.


This technology is the primary method that many doctors use to get an internal view of the body to detect the symptoms of disease inside body parts and different body systems. Without it, patient treatment would not be as nearly as effective and disease would be much more difficult to diagnose. Thankfully, new technology is helping to make radiology more effective than ever. One kind of new tech that is certainly doing that is the cloud.

Secure Backup


Without cloud technology, radiological imagery tends to be stored either as physical media or computer files on local machines and local networks. There of course is a strong risk in doing so. The imagery could be destroyed. In regards to physical media, even if nothing catastrophic happens to a healthcare practice’s building, poor clerical work can lose health records and medical imagery to the point that it may as well have been destroyed. Digital files that are only backed up locally are also at risk. As reported on by CNN, even technology giant Google experienced significant data loss over something as simple as a lightning strike.


While creating new medical imagery is an option, radiation is dangerous. Humans should certainly limit the number of times they are exposed to it. Backing up radiological medical imagery in the cloud has benefits over relying on local backup only. With the way cloud server architecture is designed, data redundancy is used as a method to make sure that data stays protected even if some of the servers that are part of a cloud network fail. Backing up any kind of data in the cloud is far more secure in regards to data loss than other options currently available.

Efficient Distribution


Secure backup isn’t the only thing that can be provided to radiology by cloud computing. Another great advantage is efficient distribution. Today, many healthcare clinics and hospitals implement something known as PACS. PACS is an acronym that stands for Picture Archiving and Communication System. A PACS radiology system implements computer software to achieve interoperability with its radiological medical imagery. It allows imagery like X-rays, MRIs or CAT Scans to be created as digital files that are instantly backed up. Said files are sent to a computer network where they can then be distributed both internally and externally.


According to Imaging Technology News, PACS was first used in 1982. However, it only recently gained the ability to take advantage of the cloud. Cloud computing allows outside organizations affiliated with a patient, such as laboratories, hospitals or clinics, to access the PACS radiological imagery via the cloud. More healthcare practitioners being able to access medical imagery in such a quick and efficient fashion certainly has the possibility of improving a patient’s care and greatly lowering costs.

A More Holistic Healthcare


This new gained wide access to medical imagery created through PACS systems and then uploaded to the cloud has the possibility to transform healthcare. Traditionally, healthcare has been rather compartmentalized due to the infrastructure of medical specialists that focus on individual systems in the body.


However, if more doctors are able to access more data and more medical imagery regarding a patient, they should be able to gain more insight into a patient’s health status. This could pave the way for a more holistic approach to healthcare in which doctors are more informed about the overall health of all of a patient’s body systems. Treatment may become more accurate as a result.


Overall, it’s an exciting new age for medicine. Thanks to new technologies like cloud computing, healthcare is certain to become more efficient and more effective than ever before. This progress is certainly being felt in regards to improvements in radiology.



Source: SANS ISC SecNewsFeed @ March 2, 2017 at 11:06PM