Radiology information systems, picture archiving and communication systems, teleradiology--overview and design criteria.

Academic Article


  • Information technology (IT), long taken for granted in commercial settings, is now being utilized for health-care applications. Medical imaging has lagged comparatively due to the extremely vast data content of each frame; thus, the requirement for expensive high-end components. Further, IT in radiology has evolved from two distinctly separate camps--information systems, known as RIS (radiology information systems) and PACS (picture archiving and communications systems). Both RIS and PACS applications have migrated to the PC environment, enabling cost-effective implementation, but from two backgrounds: RIS from vendors using conventional information systems platforms and products, and PACS from radiographic film and modality vendors. The radiology department at Texas Tech University has assembled a seamlessly integrated, enterprise-wide RIS/PACS/teleradiology intranet. The design criteria include user-friendliness, flexibility to respond to changing needs, and open modular architecture to assure interoperability, cost-effectiveness, and future-proofing of investment. Since no single venor could provide an integrated system meeting our specifications, we decided to assume the burden of constructing our own system. As the system integrator, we embrace open architecture, thus enabling the incorporation of industry-standard-compliant, COTS (commercially off the shelf) products as modules. Microsoft Windows NT operating system, Visual C++ programming language, TCP/IP (transmission control protocol/internetworking protocol), relational SQL (structured query language) database, ODBC (open database connectivity), HL-7 (health level seven) and DICOM (digital imaging and communications in medicine) interfaces are utilized. The usage of COTS components reduces the cost to very affordable levels. With this approach, any module in our system can be replaced when outmoded, without affecting other modules in our system, making it truly future-proof. Construction and evolution of our system (TECHRAD) is reviewed.
  • Authors

    Published In


  • Computer Systems, Humans, Radiology Information Systems, Teleradiology, Texas
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Roberson GH; Shieh YY
  • Start Page

  • 2
  • End Page

  • 7
  • Volume

  • 11
  • Issue

  • 4 Suppl 2