Intended for healthcare professionals

Education And Debate


BMJ 1995; 310 doi: (Published 27 May 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:1392
  1. Richard Wright, consultant radiologista,
  2. Claire Loughrey, consultant radiologista
  1. a Ulster Hospital, Belfast BT16 0RH
  1. Correspondence to: Dr Wright.

    Advances in telecommunications and computer software have led to the development of radiology image transfer systems. Radiologists may now report radiographs at a site distant from that of the examination, in some cases almost instantaneously. Computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and ultrasonography may also be supervised from afar. Developments over the past few decades are reviewed, allowing an understanding of the systems currently available. These include systems that transmit static images and real time video systems that enable interactive supervision from a radiologist at a distant site. The implications for the practice of radiology are discussed and the main areas of development over the next few years explored.

    The wicked queen, staring at her glass, is presented with a picture of Snow White, a maiden more beautiful than she in a faraway place. A familiar fairy tale, but now moving closer to reality. There are many definitions of teleradiology, but a reasonable working one defines it as the use of telecommunications to deliver radiology services to patients who are located in a different place from the radiologist. Some physicians are familiar with limited transfer of computed tomograms from one centre to another, often by means of slow and fairly cumbersome systems. Anyone visiting this year's annual clinical meeting of the Radiological Society of North America would have seen clearly that teleradiology in the United States is now …

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