The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
The NIOSH, CDC monitors the health of underground coal miners through the Coal Workers’ X-ray Surveillance Program (CWXSP). Since its inception, the CWXSP has been a film-based operation; however, to keep the program viable, it must also be capable of accepting and managing digital chest x-rays. The conversion requires the right technology, an integration strategy that will assure success, and an understanding of the federal regulations that govern the program.
NIOSH had no prior experience with medical digital imaging but needed to successfully transition to a digital system. NIOSH needed a cost-effective, and operationally feasible solution, to support the secure transmission of imaging data from over 300 sites to the Morgantown, West Virginia location. A digital conversion needed to consider the very specific needs of the CWXSP, the stringent security requirements on moving information containing Protected Health Information and the geographically distributed nature of the program.
tiag CI experts have been at the leading edge of digital medical imaging since its inception and have applied their over-25 years of such experience to design and implement a solid solution. The tiag CI experts have analyzed the workflow of the film-based environment and identified those activities that will remain unchanged versus those that will change in a digital environment. This analysis includes identification of existing regulations that may need updating to accommodate newer digital technologies. To deliver a best of breed solution, tiag defined functional requirements for a SIMS that support the CWXSP surveillance activities required by federal law and defined a secure image transfer mechanism that accepts digital images from the x-ray facilities and is compliant with evolving government networks security rules.
NIOSH's full conversion to digital medical imaging is underway and will provide enhanced benefit to the 331,000 coal workers whose health is of concern to, and monitored by, NIOSH. tiag informatics experts worked with the NIOSH community to develop and validate a set of functional requirements for a SIMS that meets the specific needs of the CWXSP program. The SIMS has been purchased and will be deployed in the fall of 2010. tiag informaticists are continuing to provide oversight and guidance on the deployment of the digital systems, assist with acceptance testing, making appropriate changes to the regulatory language and working closely with NIOSH to ensure that the integration of the SIMS into the surveillance program is exceedingly successful.
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