Dr. Ian McLean, Director of Clinical
Right now Palmer College is
installing digital radiographic
systems in the Chiropractic
Learning Resource Center (CLRC),
which is scheduled to open later this
year on the Davenport Campus. But
what does that mean to faculty such as
myself? Or to the students who will be
using a technology that is currently
available in only a limited number of
The greatest benefit of digital radiology
over film-based radiology is that it can
be viewed almost immediately after a
patient’s examination through computer
networks by radiologists, the patient’s
doctors and student interns.
In practice, this means that the X-ray
images will be available to clinicians
in any of the clinic treatment rooms,
which is particularly valuable in the
management of a patient who may
present with acute symptoms after
trauma. Plus, since these same images
can be e-mailed at a moment’s notice,
clinic radiologists and clinicians can
review images obtained after-hours at
home as immediately as if they were
Can you imagine a system where all
radiology reports and studies are constantly
available without films being
lost? This is part of the advantage of
utilizing a computerized picture archival
and communication system (PACS). The
PACS represents a significant component
of a digital radiology department and
allows studies to be captured, distributed
and stored in digital format and
consequently retrieved at any time.
After the X-ray images are obtained
from the patient, the images can be
sent to any computer within the network.
For clinicians, the benefits of PACS are
an increased availability of images and
the images can be available to any clinician
within a prescribed network. This
latter aspect can be quite important in
forming communications and consultations
between clinicians and radiologists,
especially across a large multicampus
college such as Palmer.
Digital radiology is also expected to
have a positive impact on patient education.
Not only can images be displayed
to patients on high-resolution
monitors in adjusting rooms, but the
images can also be annotated to include
information such as clinical data and
radiographic measurements. The radiologist’s
reports will also be immediately
available with the images during the
report of findings to the patients.
While digital radiology’s image quality is
equal to that of conventional radiographic
systems, only digital radiology provides
healthcare professionals the ability
to fine tune an image’s grayscale and
contrast as well as make edge enhancement
and image sharpening alterations.
Computer aided measurement also represents
an integral aspect of image evaluation.
This includes the ability to measure
linear distance, angles and anatomical
volumes. In the clinical arena these
images can be easily reviewed on
standard flat panel monitors.
Everyone using the digital imaging
process and its associated software at
the CLRC will undergo appropriate
training, including student interns. This
will include hands-on experience with
both the direct capture and computed
radiography systems. Students will also
be expected to interpret images and
correlate the data with the patient’s
The digital images themselves will
also allow us to provide students with
expanded radiology libraries from
which to study. And because of digital
radiology’s adaptable nature, we will
be able to quickly remove identifying
images to make them compliant with
patient privacy regulations.
In the future, we anticipate the CLRC’s
digital radiology department will supply
radiology services to chiropractic clinicians
within the surrounding community.
It will also serve as a learning resource
for students on our branch campuses.
Because of the advantage of digital
radiology, referring chiropractors will
have direct access to their patients’
images even before those patients leave
the radiology facility.
If you have questions about digital
radiology, including direct capture and
computed radiography, please e-mail
me at email@example.com.