Our work titled “Enterprise Medical Imaging for Improved Radiological Workflows: Towards an Interoperable and Standards-Based Medical Imaging Platform in Public Health Facilities in Zambia” was presented at the “Zambia Digital Health Conference 2022” conference that was held in Lusaka, Zambia between October 19–21, 2022. The presentation was done by our co-author, Dr. Ernest Obbie Zulu.
The Republic of Zambia, like many other developing countries world-over, is faced with a critical shortage of trained radiologists—medical experts specialised in the interpretation and use of medical imaging In recent years, there has been a gradual rise in the number of radiological imaging examinations in the health sector due to a high disease burden in the expanding population. This has led to an exponential growth of medical imaging data requiring interpretation and management. Furthermore, the sheer quantity of radiological reports generated by Radiologists has also increased. However, public health facilities in Zambia do not have the requisite technological infrastructure necessary to efficiently and effectively store, manage and access medical images and radiological reports. This paper discusses preliminary work conducted to highlight the implications and challenges of the non-existence of a Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS)—a crucial component of an Enterprise Medical Imaging (EMI) strategy—and, additionally, an outline of how a PACS platform could potentially address the challenges. An archival records analysis was conducted on historical medical images produced at two University Teaching Hospitals (UTHs) by digitising sample X-ray images archived on compact discs and additionally, medical images archived on external drives. The paper also outlines how existing historical images could potentially be stored, managed and accessed using a PACS platform.