In mid 1997, Shock Trauma installed a picture archiving, retrieval, and storage system (PACS) to permit electronic transfer of diagnostic images (X-rays) throughout the building. PACS work stations are available in the Trauma Resuscitation Unit, or the clinical service floors, and in selected additional clinical areas. Images can be sent to specific review stations as needed.
In early 2003, Shock Trauma's CT scanner was upgraded from a 4 to a 16-slice detector system. This is a major improvement allowing for higher image quality, overall faster scanning, and improved capacity to produce multiplanar 2-diminesional, 3-dimesional, and volumetric images of the body. This technologic advance will improve diagnostic accuracy in general, but will specifically improve visualization of vascular injuries. It is anticipated that the CT upgrade will lead to a decrease in invasive diagnostic angiography in many settings and will improve selection of patients who require therapeutic angiographic intervention. Due to the high volume of patients treated in trauma, in 2002 a second "back-up" 4-detector helical CT was placed in a temporary building with access to the third floor of the trauma center. The location of the scanner was also determined based on the fact that the UMMS ER was a great distance to travel if the primary scanner failed.
In 2003, the Shock Trauma received the first North American installation of the Statscan, which was developed in South Africa by LODOX, Inc. The unit is a full-body digital radiographic unit that can scan the entire body in less than 13 seconds. The images can be viewed within 8 seconds on a local monitor or transmitted to the electronic imaging network within the trauma center. It is anticipated that the Statscan will save considerable time for initial radiologic assessment of the trauma patient (process time is 5 minutes vs. normal X-ray plain film series which takes 30-40 minutes to process) and will identify all orthopaedic injuries in the early post-admission period. Several studies of the efficiency of the new Statscan compared to conventional radiography systems are planned.