Chest X-rays to speed detection of infections

Swissray International of Elmsford, NY, has committed to supply 50 ddRModulaire direct digital radiography systems worth roughly $14 million to DIANAssociates of Severna Park, MD, for surge capacity screening of pulmonary disease caused by biological or chemical agents. DIANA currently operates a nationwide teleradiology program for the U.S. Department of Justice, using digital X-rays for detection of tuberculosis in detained aliens at six border control points.

DIANA, which purchased 10 systems from Swissray last year, plans to install the new ddRModulaire units in specially designed emergency vehicles with wideband telecommunications links to remote radiology reading centers to provide surge digital chest exam services "on demand" to local, state, and federal government agencies. The remotely generated images are transmitted to a reading center at the University of Maryland in College Park where radiologists are on duty 24/7 and can report back results electronically within an hour.

"There are dozens of biological and chemical agents like Legionella (Legionnaire’s disease), irritant gases and tuberculosis, that could be weaponized and cause serious pulmonary disease," says Philip Templeton, vice president of DIANA’s Telehealth Services. "A surge capacity screening system ideally needs to easily report disease incidence in a common format to a central repository so proper medical strategies can be implemented quickly."

The mobile screening units also would help reduce disruption to normal services provided by hospitals in the emergency area and improve medical care. DIANA’s database provides rapid reporting of radiography findings which, in turn, are coded to determine the incidence and prevalence of positive results. This aids in epidemiology and identification of significant health risk situations quickly.