An Automated System Design for Medical Image Storage and Distribution

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Addis Ababa University


The advent of information and communication technologies (ICT) and their incorporation into the medical domain especially medical imaging have created opportunities to enhance medical services and provide improvement to patient care. To implement such services, the current medical system needs to be integrated to different imaging modalities and at the same time be available to health professionals and patients. Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) is one means of storing and uses a server for image transmission through a network. The images could be acquired using any given modalities like Computed Tomography (CT), Ultra Sound (US) or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and stored digitally. Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) and Health Level Seven (HL 7) are often standards used to exchange medical images and patient data within the health institutions and outside of the institution using public network (internet). The images taken from the different imaging modalities are often difficult to transfer over the internet because of their size. We could think of for example storing and transferring an isotropic MRI data set between systems even for few patients. In order to transmit such slices of pictures via the internet, these images need to be compressed first. One of the primary obstacles in the development of a compression scheme is the loss of image resolution and contrast. However, we can improve the transmission time and also upload and download time. In the existing setup of the health facilities in Ethiopia, working medical image sharing systems are available only is some hospitals and function only within the hospitals. In low resource settings with chronic shortage of medical experts to examine the ever increasing amount of imaging data, there is always a need to locate a physician to consult and hence having a system that allows two ways communication remotely could be an enormous benefit. This thesis focuses on the development of a working Medical Image File Storage and Distribution System (MIFSDS) for use in storage and exchange/sharing of medical images within and across hospitals. The system includes development of an image classification algorithm and design of a web page system for image distribution and communication. The image classification algorithm which has been developed based on higher order statistical image feature extraction is shown to be accurate and robust while the system that has been developed for easy storage and transmission of imaging data allowing two way communication is proved to be simple and effective.



Medical Image, Automated System, Medical Image Storage