Radiology residents Mary Ellen Koran, MD, PhD and Audrey Verde, MD, PhD, from Stanford University, contributed this post.

Opinions are the authors’ own and do not reflect their institutions’ opinions.

Radiology is an inherently innovative specialty. However, as medicine modernizes both in technology and health care delivery, transfer of patient imaging has lagged behind. The majority of medical centers still rely on compact discs (CDs) as the transport medium for radiologic exams.

Currently, no standardized protocols exist to govern the use of CDs to convey imaging information across health care systems, which leads to vast discrepancies in image transfer. Radiologists are isolated without access to the imaging completed at hospitals outside of their own institutions that may be required to provide complete patient care. Patients are individually burdened with carrying their CDs instead of having a seamless on-demand image transfer system. We need to work together to find a better solution for sharing images to improve patient care. It’s time to migrate away from antiquated methods for sharing personal health records (PHRs).

To facilitate this shift, the American College of Radiology Informatics Commission established the Ditch the Disk Task Force in 2018. We encourage practices to transition from cumbersome, unsecured CDs to digital, secure, cloud-based file-sharing. The continued use of CDs and lack of universal practice directly correlate to discrepancy in patient history, unnecessary imaging and delay in treatment.

The #DitchTheDisk Task Force is actively seeking patient and practitioner advocates as we embark on a journey to change the method of PHR storage. To get involved, please fill out this form or email

Please look out for our next blog posts on how CDs impact patient care in the trauma and cancer settings.

Share your thoughts using the hashtag #DitchTheDisk on social media, in the comments section below or by joining the discussion on Engage (login required).

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