, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 253-257
Date: 26 Oct 2004

Internet Consultations from a Remote Pacific Island: Impact of Digitized Radiologic Images on Referral Decisions

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Abstract

A study was carried out to determine whether digitized radiologic images added valuable information to Internet consultations from a remote Pacific Island. Chuuk State Hospital (Federated States of Micronesia) has limited film screen radiology, minimal ultrasound capability, and no radiologist. Providers initiate Web-based referrals for consultation or patient transfer. Digitized images (via low-cost digital camera or flatbed scanner) were uploaded to a Web site. Images were assessed for impact on referral decisions. A radiologist scored image quality and confidence (scale: 1–7). Of 97 referrals with images that were reviewed, 74 (76%) image sets were abnormal, 20 (20%) were normal, and 3 (4%) were indeterminate. Median scores were 4 for image quality and 5 for diagnostic confidence. In most cases with abnormal radiology (52/74, 70%), images were considered valuable. Radiologic images digitized with a low-cost camera or flatbed scanner provided valuable information for decision making in an Internet-based consultation and referral process from a remote, impoverished Pacific Island jurisdiction, despite relatively low image quality.