Bringing Radiology Access to Lao Friends Hospital for Children

Erin McGee This is a guest blog post by Ambra Health’s Erin McGee, Manager, Professional Sevices. Erin spent two weeks in Laos working with RAD-AID, Google Cloud, and TribalCo to install a radiology PACS. Erin will be presenting on her experience at #RSNA18, in the Google Cloud Partners Booth (#7161) on Tuesday, November 27, 2018, from 12-12:20pmCT.

Look no further than the open-air walls of Lao Friends Hospital for Children (LFHC) in Luang Prabang, Laos to find an enormous, welcoming, and loving community of individuals.  The group included local Lao clinical staff, international medical staff, and volunteers. Volunteers are the robust lungs of LFHC, who are largely responsible for its success and unbounded welcoming spirit. LFHC’s guiding principle is “treat every patient as if your own child,” and this is undeniably true as you walk through hospital’s entryway, observe children in the waiting room watching Disney movies, or stroll through the hospital halls where anxious families wait with patience. It is a scene of controlled chaos in the inpatient ward at LFHC. The staff and volunteer clinical teams work seamlessly together to provide the best care they can give using every opportunity as a teaching moment.

When RAD-AID conducted a radiology readiness assessment in 2015, they found that there were no trained radiology personnel, no operational radiology equipment, and no digital radiology networks. RAD-AID is a nonprofit global health charity organization of 10,000 radiology volunteers and supporters, serving 53 hospitals in 27 countries to build radiology health services in low-resource and medically underserved communities via on-site educational training, equipment implementation, and technology development. The RAD-AID friendship cloud was installed as a one-stop solution for health IT & PACS.

Ambra Health acts as the Cloud PACS solution. All imaging, whether taken at the facility or sent from other hospitals, is routed to the cloud for secure image viewing, collaboration, and for the technologists to make comments in the reports. CR and US scans from LFCH are being sent directly to the Friendship PACS in addition to CTs being taken at the government hospital across the street.  Opting to keep the radiology comments and reports within the Friendship PACS encourages the LFHC clinicians to view and evaluate the images prior to discharging a patient – a common standard US practice that is still being taught at LFHC. Imaging is then sent to the Google Cloud for archiving and a teleradiology workflow which allows the LFHC radiology team, trained by a few years of observation and experience, to provide comments on abnormal scans and flag scans that need additional review by an outside US-based volunteer radiologist

The new Friendship PACS system meant change for the LFHC team, that was faced with little resistance. Training was conducted in small groups to allowed for focused sessions and the opportunity to ask pointed questions. Upon saying my goodbyes to the caring individuals I got to know over my two weeks at LFHC, I was faced with the question of, “When are you coming back?”  Volunteers are so heavily integrated into the routine at LFHC that it is impossible for some to imagine a world without. The implementation of the Friendship PACS and other future cloud-based applications will allow for more efficient practices and techniques to be taught and for better care to be provided to the children of LFHC.

To learn more, check out the Google Cloud Partners case study here.


Erin McGee

About Erin McGee

Erin is a Manager on the Ambra Health Professional Services team. She has a B.S. in Biology & Psychology from the University of Vermont and previous career experience in Clinical Research. She enjoys being involved in something that impacts clinical decisions every day. Erin moved to Ambra's Denver office over a year ago and loves soaking up the Colorado sun while experiencing some of the great outdoor wonders the state has to offer.

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