X-Ray Film Scanners and Digitizers, X-Ray Film Scanning Services and Software

How to Manage Medical X-Ray Digitizing

posted Jul-29-2014

The Challenge of Storing X-ray Film

The storage of X-ray films poses a challenge for healthcare facilities several reasons:

  • Uncertainty regarding length of retention — Though rarely saved as permanent records, most states do have laws governing x-ray record retention.  Additionally, consideration should also be given to the statute of limitations in malpractice suits.
  • Special considerations for storage — Because film-based materials are vulnerable to damage from inappropriate storage environments, special attention must be paid to storage temperature, light, humidity and other conditions in order to keep them in good condition until they can be disposed of.
  • Weight of X-ray film — File boxes of X-ray film are relatively heavy, so they require heavy-duty shelving.  Moreover, safe storage of large number of these boxes may require special flooring support depending upon the weight load.
  • Must be stored vertically — Space must be available to store without stacking, as stacking puts pressure on the x-rays that are lower in the stack, causing damage.

Digitizing X-Ray Film Eliminates these Challenges

Specialized x-ray film digitizing services can digitize X-ray film to DICOM diagnostic digital images which are stored on CD/DVDs and can be viewed in a PACS or the can be stored in a cloud storage facility and viewed via a WEB PACS.  Additionally, both methods provide back-up in case the healthcare facility has internal computer hardware failure.

Digitizing of the X-ray film archive frees the space that had been dedicated to the film storage so that it can be used for more profitable revenue generating possibilities.   Or, if the films had been stored off-site, the storage fees can be eliminated, adding to the bottom line.  Further cost and time savings are achieved by making better use of personnel than searching for and pulling physical films from storage and then refiling them.  Digital X-ray files can be quickly and easily found and viewed or compared to new tests.

The right x-ray film digitizing service can even help organizations manage film and digital images in parallel during the transition period.  And, once the transition is complete digital medical image management enables healthcare organizations to:

  • Improve radiologist productivity
  • Increase accuracy of interpretations and conduct remote diagnosis
  • Streamline workflow
  • Reduce costs
  • Avoid the high cost of equipment purchases, upgrades and maintenance
  • Optimize film management
  • Free up valuable floor space for expanded revenue-generating opportunities

Additional Benefits of X-ray Film Digitizing

Digitization offers an efficient, portable, cost effective method of transporting and viewing X-ray film.  With digital images, there is no longer the need to check-out and check-in loaned films for second opnions, legal needs, or transferring of records.  With DICOM compliance the images can be viewed in any PACS.  WEB PACS even eliminate the need for burning to CD or having PACS in-house.  With WEB PACS a secure link enables immediate viewing from any internet-accessible device.

PACS system for viewing and storage. If the facility does not have a PACS system in place, the full-featured Dicom viewer included on each CD/DVD we create can be used in any Windows based computer to view the images. This viewer has many tools and capabilities that allow the doctor or radiologist to view and manipulate the images to allow accurate readings from the digitized x-ray film.

Choosing the Right X-ray Digitizing Service

As with any other outsource service, due diligence is the key to success.  While cost is an important factor, accuracy, experience, good references, ample staff and equipment are equally as important.  HIPAA compliance is a must.  If you’re going the WEB PACS route, it’s to your advantage if the digitizing service also offers a WEB PACS.  That way your images will be delivered directly into the cloud, thus avoiding the additional work of burning to CD/DVDs and then uploading to another system.

Also, given the weight of X-ray film, if you have many boxes, you may want to choose a firm that’s close by in order to avoid high shipping charges.  Many x-ray digitizing firms will pick-up and dispose of your films.  Since disposal is a major consideration, hiring a firm that will handle this for you according to EPA requirements is another step that will make your life easier.  Most firms who dispose of X-rays will credit the price of the silver recovered to your invoice, thus reducing your overall project cost.


Download White Paper – Converting from X-Ray Film to PACS