Many bone densitometry practices re-enter patient and DXA scan data when creating reports. Accuracy is critical because interpretation is based on this data. Key patient information includes gender, date of birth, and ethnicity. Important bone mineral density data includes BMD, T-Scores, and Z-Scores.
Physicians and their staff often re-enter the data manually from the DXA printout into templates. Sometimes reports are transcribed. Radiologists typically dictate the numbers into a report. All of these are error prone.
This data re-entry step is completely unnecessary. DXA machines support DICOM, which is an electronic format that contains all the patient and BMD data. While BMD numbers are burned into the DICOM image and can be viewed. The DICOM format also contains the BMD data within discrete fields. Software can recognize and extract this information! We have touched upon this point in prior postings such as these: The Evolution of Bone Density Report and Bone Density Reporting and PACS.
The benefits of bone density specific reporting software, such as BoneStation, become apparent with electronic availability of DXA data. Software can calculate change in BMD, highlight if change is significant, calculate a FRAX score, and even suggest an interpretation. In addition, the data can be displayed on a report in a way that is desirable and visually appealing.
Computerizing the handling of DXA data not only reduces errors, but it increases efficiency, and shortens turn-around time of reports.