"[The system] provides high user acceptance, high user satisfaction, and high utilization," said Dr. Thomas Moritz of the Medical University of Vienna, who discussed the system in the ECR session.
Called ePACS, the system combines the Unified Patient medical database and content management system (CodeWerk, Wr. Neudorf, Austria) with a Java-based DICOM viewer (Tiani Spirit, Vienna). The case-based learning system is accessed via a Web browser and provides PACS-like DICOM viewing, structured reporting, and interactive capabilities, Moritz said.
To assess whether the ePACS approach for postgraduate training was feasible for ECR attendees, the multi-institution research team first surveyed users at the 2007 meeting, asking respondents questions concerning the format, quality, difficulty, and benefit of the system. At the 2008 meeting, the ePACS application was available on 120 PCs for use.
After attendees utilized the system, they were asked to rate the format and overall quality of the system on a scale of 1 (very good) to 4 (poor). Users gave the format of ePACS an average rating of 1.47 and ranked its quality with an average score of 1.53.
Attendees were also asked to rate the difficulty of the cases as either 1 (too difficult), 2 (satisfactory), or 3 (too easy). Users gave ePACS an average score of 1.95.
At the 2008 ECR, server logs revealed 1,116 visits to the ePACS homepage. Cases were also accessed 1,556 times in 4.5 days, he said.
The study team noted good viewing times per case, although attendees browsed relatively few cases per visit, he said.
"This might have been due to the congress schedule, which is fairly tight," he said. "Nevertheless, we had high self-rated user benefit."
Moritz acknowledged the limitations of the research, including the potential bias of performing surveys at meetings and the use of logfile analysis methods.
However, the e-learning tool appears able to make practical clinical knowledge available outside of a clinical radiology setting, according to Moritz. "ePACS seems to be a valuable e-learning tool," he said.
By Erik L. Ridley
AuntMinnie.com staff writer
March 10, 2009
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