Digital on the road down-under
© BioMed Central 2006
Published: 10 July 2006
Digital mammography is being introduced worldwide in fixed-site screening and diagnostic clinics. BreastScreen Australia services use mobile vans to deliver screening to women in rural and remote Australia. BreastScreen Victoria (BSV) has installed a Computerised Radiology (CR) unit on a mobile van, while BreastScreen Tasmania (BST) has installed a Direct Radiology (DR) system.
Digital systems offer benefits over analogue systems on mobile vans. One benefit is image processing without chemicals. Currently, radiographers on BSV and BST mobile vans work 'blind'. They cannot process and view images due to difficulties in maintaining processor quality when vans are moving. Unprocessed films are couriered across the country and women must return if repeat views are required. Digital imaging overcomes this limitation as radiographers can view their images instantaneously.
However, digital systems in a mobile environment pose specific problems. Harsh Australian conditions affect system reliability. Movement along rural country roads and temperature fluctuations from -5°C to over 40°C can affect the stability of detectors and lasers. Limited broadband infrastructure poses difficulties in meeting IT and communication network requirements.
This poster reports on implementation challenges and compares the strengths and weaknesses of using CR and DR in a digital mobile environment in Australia.