Most radiology departments have established quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) programs for conventional film-based image management systems. At many institutions, digital image management systems, or picture archiving and communication systems (PACS), are replacing part or all of the film management system. In these situations, it is important to control the quality of the digital images that are produced. The observed frequency of eight types of image-related errors occurring on an image viewing station located in a medical intensive care unit is reported. Images on the viewing station were checked for 12 consecutive weeks. Film images available in the radiology reading room and digital images on the viewing station were compared with a list of completed examinations produced by the radiological information system. Overall, 1,082 patient examinations were encountered. Seventy-six images (7.02% of all images) were observed with errors. In addition, four previously unencountered types of errors were observed in 11 images (1.01% of all images). The majority of the errors are attributed to interfaces either between information systems or between the PACS and the user. It is concluded that QA-QC procedures are necessary for PACS, and that good interfaces, both between information systems and between humans and computer systems, are essential for successful PACS implementations.
picture archiving and communication systems (PACS)intensive care unit (ICU)quality controlquality assurance