Immediate Hospital-Wide Access to X-Ray Film Images

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The system to be described permits examination of stored televised film images by referring physicians on various hospital floors and clinics from which the patient was referred. The images are available immediately after the films are made. Films would never leave the file room. The system can also be used for viewing films at conferences. Figure 1 shows the general arrangement.

Apparatus Required for the TV Display of Images of Films

In the X-Ray Department (Fig. 2)


View box with variable brightness and variable size masks


TV camera (I) with remotely controlled zoom lens and iris control for film recording


TV camera (II) for viewing identifying data


Special effects generator


Local TV monitor


Videodisc recorder


Switches and cables to connect


TV camera to x-ray department monitor


TV camera to remote Videodisc recorder


Remote Videodisc recorders to x-ray department monitor

In the Remote Stations


Videodisc recorder


TV monitor

Operation of the System

As the films of a patient leave the automatic processor, the radiologist examines them for adequacy of technic and completion of the examination. He may report the case immediately or let it proceed through its normal course for later reporting. He circles with a wax pencil any area of the film which is to be transmitted as an enlarged image. He may write a diagnosis on one of the films or on a separate piece of clear film. The films, requisition, and an identification card are given to the TV x-ray technician. He notes the location of the patient, that is, the floor of the hospital or clinic from which the patient originated. He connects the video output of the TV cameras to his local monitor and Videodisc and to the Videodisc recorder in the area from which the patient came.

By remote control the radiologist moves the recording head on the remote disc to the first available space beyond the last recorded image for recording the new images. He places the films on the light box and adjusts the light, lens, mask, and camera for the best image on the local monitor.

Under the second TV camera, he places the film-identifying information. He then records the films with their identifying data one after the other. The enlarged detailed images of any parts marked on the film and pertinent previous films are similarly recorded.

A single disc will accept up to 1,600 images if both sides are used.

The physician on the ward operates his local disc recorder. Its images are seen on his local monitor. Since no ward or clinic in our hospital sends more than 10 to 20 patients per day, the viewer has to review no more than a few patients on any given date before coming to the images of the films he wants, even without an index.

Consideration was given to making all the retrieval mechanisms automatic, but this becomes very expensive and rather complicated.

Article History

Accepted: Oct 1968
Published in print: Feb 1969