The Department of Defense announced it has begun to electronically transmit the digital images of medical scans, such as MRI and CAT scans, for critically injured soldiers who are transferred from Walter Reed Army Medical Center and National Naval Medical Center Bethesda to the Veterans Affairs Polytrauma Center in Tampa, Fla.
Previously, images were copied from the local Picture Archive and Communication System (PACS) at Walter Reed or Bethesda to a compact disc. The compact disc was then
hand-carried by the patient or a family member to the VA facility.
Automation of this process reduces the risk of data loss, eliminates the burden of responsibility for delivery of imaging data from the patient or family and allows providers at the VA to better prepare for the arrival of the patient at the Polytrauma Center.
Dr. Stephen Jones, the principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, applauded the rapid development and deployment of the image transfer process, “Once again, we have shown the tremendous progress that can be made when DoD and the VA work together, united by a single purpose and guided by our determination to improve the healthcare for our returning service members,” he said.
The success of early trials and the speedy implementation of this program can be credited to a joint DoD/VA team of imaging experts. Working together we can now share images including computed radiology, digital radiography, computerized tomography, magnetic resonance and ultrasound.
The majority of critically wounded patients are transferred from Walter Reed, Bethesda, and Brooke Army Medical Center to the four VA polytrauma centers located in Tampa, Fla., Richmond, Va., Minneapolis, Minn., and Palo Alto, Calif.
Now that digital image transfer has been successfully implemented between Walter Reed, Bethesda and the polytrauma center in Tampa, the plan is to add Brooke Army Medical Center to the sites sending images and make this service available to the remaining three VA polytrauma locations as soon as possible.