Page last updated at 12:30 GMT, Tuesday, 22 April 2008 13:30 UK

Digital era for hospital x-rays

X-ray of a leg. Pic by VT Freezeframe
The new system allows x-rays to be viewed in 3D

A digital imaging system is set to revolutionise the way doctors access x-ray information.

NHS Forth Valley has replaced its conventional film process with a digital database, ending the need for x-rays to be viewed with a light box.

Doctors will be able to analyse the images in 3D and take measurements.

The new method will also remove the need for images to be hand-delivered and allow access from anywhere electronically.

Clinicians who want to examine specific areas will be able to use high definition monitors to zoom in on any small area with the system.

The advantages go beyond clinical efficiency, with a reduction in x-ray dose, a reduction in storage space required and reduced environmental impact
Dr Raj Burgul

The images will be stored on a national archive and will be accessed using a patient's unique CHI number.

The authority said the change would enable doctors to make immediate decisions on the basis of imaging without having to wait for scans and reports to be physically delivered to them.

Norma Wilson, area imaging services manager said: "This project is the culmination of two years work and will revolutionise the way x-rays are viewed."

Consultant radiologist, Dr Raj Burgul said the facility had allowed doctors within Forth Valley and national specialist centres, immediate access to radiological images facilitating immediate clinical decisions.

He added: "The advantages go beyond clinical efficiency, with a reduction in x-ray dose, a reduction in storage space required and reduced environmental impact."

About 39 Scottish hospitals are expected to be using the new system by the end of the year.


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