How can you avoid flying into a blind panic when you can’t get access to required veterinary X-ray images? Here are some simple tips to help make sure you can always access images within your practice, to ensure smooth operation.
Adopt multiple backup methods
It’s no good simply storing your images on computer and then forgetting about them. Backing up all images should be an essential and regular practice within your veterinary administration procedures. The good news is that now it’s easier than ever to make sure you’re never without access to these essential X-ray images.
While many backup methods, such as the use of CDs or DVDs may have been quite suitable years ago, now there are even more efficient and secure ways of achieving the same objective. With veterinary digital radiography systems fast becoming the norm within veterinary practices, this allows for easy and quick backup of all images to ensure they are never ‘lost’ either physically or through inability to access them.
You may think just because your practice PC is backed up you can recover any images from the latest backup file. But what if the PC itself was out of commission due to technical failure? What then? There are a variety of back up methods which can be used, such as:
- USB flash drives
- External hard drives
- Cloud storage
USB flash drives: these offer various benefits; they are inexpensive, easy to use, and can be used for daily backup procedures. They can be used to restore files to your PC or simply inserted into another device for viewing of the images.
External hard drives: these offer the advantage of greater data storage capacity and can be used in the same way as USB thumb drives. They are more expensive, but still mobile and can be used with another PC or laptop, if and when necessary, to ensure access to images is guaranteed.
Cloud storage: this option provides possibly the greatest flexibility in terms of access (as long as there is internet service). Similar to uploading your personal pics to Facebook or Instagram, for example, all images are hosted and stored online – in cloud storage – meaning you can access them from any internet-enabled device, at any time, from anywhere. Images can also be freely shared and accessed by others if necessary. And in the event of a hardware malfunction, for example, the office PC is out of order – images can be easily accessed through another device, even a mobile phone.
A critical consideration in terms of cloud storage is the provision of a steady and fast internet connection; typically 1.5MB download would be recommendable.
PACS: this is an archive system for medical images which offer various benefits. PACS (picture archive communication system) allows you to manage X-ray images and forward them by email. It also serves as a backup. Images are uploaded to a PACS server, and from there they are accessible to anyone within the practice who requires them.
Whichever system you decide is most suitable for your needs, make sure you adopt multiple backup procedures to ensure you never lose access to your vital X-ray images.