Feeds

Medical scan record that the NHS says will cost £2k to retrieve: Detail

DSR-TIFF file, unique software, MOD drive no longer made

High performance access to file storage

A hospital trust says it will cost the NHS £2,000 to dig out a copy of a patient's ultrasound scan of his heart and hand it over to him. The steep bill is, we're told, due to the data being held on a magneto-optical disc, and Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust would need to fly in kit from America to access it.

The figure emerged after Andrew Brown asked to see the echocardiogram of his ticker, which was taken eight years ago. He was told that although the scan is still on file in the Worcestershire Royal hospital, it will cost a couple of grand to recreate the data as an image because it is stored in a format that can no longer be read by the hospital's computers.

The trust said Brown has a written record of his scan results from 2004, and that only his recent heart scans are medically important. Brown, who doesn't want to foot the four-figure bill, told the BBC:

"I wanted a copy of this one for my own records and to compare it with one I had done in January last year. It's my right."

In a statement, the trust said:

We do have the visual data on file but the cost of generating an image from what is now obsolete technology is not a cost-effective use of public money.

The Reg understands the trust has now appealed to the Information Commissioner's Office to find out whether or not it has to stump the cash for unearthing the scan.

"We haven't said we'll charge him, we haven't said we won't do it, that's just us informing him of how much it will cost," a hospital spokeswoman told The Register.

Digging into the technology, the scan is stored in a DSR-TIFF format that is only readable by a specific build of Philips Xcelera software, and it will require a magneto-optical disc (MOD) drive. Philips UK no longer has that particular disc drive in stock because it is out of production, so it would have to buy one in from America. The manufactuer quoted a price of £2,000 to the trust as the cost of sourcing this MOD unit.

The hospital spokeswoman told El Reg that the old scans are not medically useful:

"In the event that any patient requires future treatment all clinical decisions and treatment are based on diagnostic tests undertaken at the time of admittance and as required rather than from historical records." ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.