We couldn’t say it any more clearly than Dr. Alexander J. Towbin, “CDs suck!” Leading healthcare facilities are expanding at a rate never seen before. Coordination among these various care providers and facilities is absolutely critical, as is the sharing of medical images and data. This backdrop of an expanding network and the increasing need to access priors to reduce duplicate imaging, especially in pediatric populations, has initiated many centers of excellence to move to a cloud-based solution for outside image management (OIM).
During a live webinar event hosted by SIIM and sponsored by Ambra Health, the audience heard from Alexander J. Towbin, MD Associate Chief, Radiology Informatics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Kevin W. McEnery, MD Director, Innovation in Imaging Informatics at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Morris Panner, CEO of Ambra Health on how to balance clinical and IT needs while developing an enterprise-wide strategy that makes imaging available when and where it is needed all while reducing redundant imaging. Through the event, poll questions were asked of the audience which provided insight to image management issues faced by facilities across the country.
55% of the respondents selected, “Improving your outside image management strategy.” This was of no surprise as many facilities continue to expand at unparalleled rates bringing in imaging from a wide array of sources. Dr. Towbin shared that Cincinnati Children’s receives more than 30,000 outside imaging studies each year! He added that it costs $10 to burn or ingest one CD with medical images. Based on that figure, Cincinnati Children’s spends hundreds of thousands of dollars each year on outside images.
Recently, all the organizations in Cincinnati Children’s region lost their legacy image sharing solution and each organization then found different solutions. Today, Cincinnati Children’s uses gateways from their cloud-based outside image management vendor to share and receive images from other image sharing platform across their wide network and route them to where they need to be when they need to be there. Additionally, the use of these gateways has helped to reduce duplicate imaging and additional anesthesia for duplicate MRI procedures among their pediatric population.
Cincinnati Children’s has found that using gateways to facilitate image transfer both within and outside of their network has been the easiest method of rapid image transfer. They are also looking towards using their cloud vendor to image-enable their referring physician and patient portal in order to allow patients to upload prior imaging and manage their own medical images.
55% selected, “We track report turnaround time.” At MD Anderson, 16,000 to 18,000 studies are processed per month leading to time and money spent making sure these images are getting to where they need to be. Dr.McEnery said, “We could use a lot more automation than exists with the current infrastructure.” However, to help aid patients, rather than asking them to manage all their CDs of imaging, MD Anderson has hired a third-party company. Once someone is an MD Anderson patient, the vendor calls and asks where they have had imaging and takes care of it from there. “It decreases stress and increases the number of studies available to get a complete picture of the patient’s condition,” McEnery said.
62% agreed “Having the staff to support the endeavor.” When looking at developing an outside image management strategy, Dr.McEnery suggested first gathering all potential use cases where outside imaging needs to get into the workflow. When selecting their vendors, MD Anderson had each vendor attempt to upload a CD which highlighted their capabilities and ability to upload CDs coming in from patients or outside facilities.
At Cincinnati Children’s, they sought to solve two problems with one solution – image sharing and teleradiology. They also needed a product that had customization and workflow routing capabilities, an easy user interface, and clinical trial capabilities. Both agreed that being aware of each facilities unique needs helped them select a vendor that could best fulfill clinical and IT requirements.
If you’ll be at the SIIM 2018 Annual Meeting stop by Ambra Health’s booth (#410) to discuss CD elimination and outside image management.