Import and Display of External Priors

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Import and Display of External Priors (IDEP) specifies the trigger events, transactions, and data mappings necessary to automate the discovery of relevant prior imaging studies and reports and the transfer between different facilities, i.e., “external priors”.


It is common for patients to move between healthcare facilities that serve a shared patient population. Many of these healthcare facilities already have a shared secure network infrastructure. Upon receipt of an order for a new imaging study, the IHE Radiology Import and Display of External Priors (IDEP) Profile provides a method to automatically retrieve images and reports throughout the shared network, independent of a common Patient Identifier. The exchange includes “localizing” the data such that both the radiology images and reports may be displayed in the same system in the expected manner for side-by-side comparison and report display.

Flow of external prior images and reports between facilities


  • Provides ability to locate, access, and view external priors for direct comparison
    • Particularly during the short time frame required for them to be relevant to reading
  • Supports side-by side image comparison of current studies and external priors using local hanging protocols and viewing tools
  • Reduces re-scanned patients (see Nagels, J., Macdonald, D. & Coz, C. J Digit Imaging (2017).
  • Provides a consistent mechanism for retrieving external prior reports
  • Minimizes impact on existing systems
    • Importer actor does the bulk of the work
    • Local PACS / RIS / EMR systems should require minimal changes to support


IDEP Workflow

  1. Order Filler (RIS / EMR) sends Procedure Scheduled message to Importer
  2. Importer extracts patient and procedure information from message
  3. Importer finds studies for the patient at each external site and identifies relevant priors (based on Procedure Scheduled)
  4. Importer retrieves relevant priors from external sites
  5. Importer localizes external studies and reports to use local identifiers, procedure codes, etc.
  6. Importer stores external prior studies and reports in local systems (Image Manager, Report Manager)
IDEP Overview

IDEP Key Points

  • Each site participating in IDEP workflow both retrieves priors from other sites and provides priors to other sites
  • The Importer and other key infrastructure can be centralized or implemented at each site

Systems Affected

  • PACS may receive and display external prior studies and respond to prior study search requests
    • Image Manager actor
  • RIS / EMR systems may initiate external prior workflow, receive / display external prior reports and respond to prior report search requests
    • DSS / Order Filler and Report Manager actors
  • VNA / EIR systems may execute the external prior workflow and manage the movement of external prior studies and reports
    • Importer actor

Actors & Transactions:

IDEP Actor Diagram
IDEP Actor Diagram
IDEP XDS Options Actor Diagram
IDEP XDS Options Actor Diagram


Profile Status: Trial Implementation


Underlying Standards:

See Also

Related Profiles

Consumer Information

The Profile FAQ Template answers typical questions about what the Profile does. <Replace the link with a link to the actual FAQ page for the Profile>

The Profile Purchasing Template describes considerations when purchasing equipment to deploy this Profile. <Replace the link with a link to the actual Purchasing page for the Profile>

Implementer Information

The Profile Implementation Template provides additional information about implementing this Profile in software. <Replace the link with a link to the actual Implementation page for the Profile>

Reference Articles

This page is based on the Profile Overview Template