The Role of the Integrated Digital Radiology System in Assessing the Impact of Patient Load on Emergency Computed Tomography (CT) Efficiency

  • Suzanne O’HaganEmail author
  • Carl J. Lombard
  • Richard D. Pitcher


Time-critical management is of particular significance in the trauma and emergency setting, where intervals from patient arrival to diagnostic imaging and from imaging to radiology report are key determinants of outcome. This study, based in the Trauma and Emergency Unit of a large, tertiary-level African hospital with a fully digital radiology department, assessed the impact of increased workload on computerised tomography (CT) efficiency. Sequential, customised searches of the institutional radiology information system (RIS) were conducted to define two weekends in 2016 with the lowest and highest emergency CT workloads, respectively. The electronic RIS timestamps defining the intervals between key steps in the CT workflow were extracted and analysed for each weekend. With the exception of radiologist reporting time, workflow steps were significantly prolonged by increased workload. This study highlights the potential role of the integrated digital radiology system in enabling a detailed analysis of imaging workflow, thereby facilitating the identification and appropriate management of bottlenecks.


Radiology information system Picture archiving and communication system Radiologist report turnaround time Imaging workflow Emergency CT Trauma CT 



The research team wishes to thank the local PACS department for supporting this study by performing data mining on the RIS.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

The study was approved by the Health Research Ethics Committee of the Stellenbosch University Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.


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Copyright information

© Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Suzanne O’Hagan
    • 1
    Email author
  • Carl J. Lombard
    • 2
  • Richard D. Pitcher
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Radiodiagnosis, Department of Medical Imaging and Clinical Oncology, Faculty of Medicine and Health SciencesStellenbosch University and Tygerberg HospitalCape TownSouth Africa
  2. 2.Biostatistics UnitSouth African Medical Research CouncilCape TownSouth Africa

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