Storage Concerns About Tomosynthesis? You’re Not Alone.


Patient and doctor discuss tomosynthesis resultsIt’s no surprise that adoption of digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) has been growing of late and shows no signs of stopping. After all, DBT has been shown to improve the diagnostic accuracy of breast cancer screening and diagnosis. But not everyone involved with implementing DBT fully understands all the technical issues.

The Tomosynthesis File Size Issue

Storage is a particularly thorny issue. According to a recent article in the American Journal of Roentgenology, if a practice stores both FFDM, DBT and synthesized images, 50 times the storage is needed than if it were storing FFDM alone. Even if the practice discards the projection images, 100 times the amount of storage is still needed.

Solutions for Digital Breast Tomosynthesis Storage

Some practices have opted to use a separate DBT workstation to accommodate these studies. Unfortunately, taking DBT images out of the department’s regular reading workflow can wreak havoc with prioritization of patient studies.

The ideal setup is a PACS that allows all radiology and mammography images, including DBT, to be read, analyzed, and reported on from a single, integrated system that is web enabled. To do this, the PACS must support the IHE mammography profile, along with DICOM images, and it should have user-configurable display protocols to allow DBT to be displayed along with other breast imaging procedures.

Tomosynthesis Precautions

Finally, in addition to storage considerations, experts also caution radiology departments to consider the following when implementing DBT:

  1. Radiologists must have eight hours of DBT training before reading those images independently, and those recently trained are not authorized to provide training to others.
  2. The department will likely want to develop policies that determine which patients will undergo DBT and which will receive FFDM studies.
  3. DBT is a potential marketing opportunity, perhaps worthy of an email or direct marketing effort.

Upcoming Events Featuring Challenges in Tomosynthesis

At SIIM 2016 in Portland, OR (June 28 – July 1), you’ll have the opportunity to attend the following session featuring panelist Indra Lalari, Sr. Manager, Radiology, Change Healthcare Imaging and Workflow Solutions, who is at the forefront of Change Healthcare’s mammography vision.

Breast Tomosynthesis: Challenges and Solutions

  • Thursday, June 30, 2016
  • 9:45 am – 10:45 am
  • Portland Ballroom 255

After the session, visit Change Healthcare booth #309 for a demonstration of McKesson Radiology™ and McKesson Radiology Mammography Plus™. Request a solution demo at SIIM in advance.

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