“You can’t plug in pipes across a hospital network,” said Dr. Jeremy Friese, Interventional Radiologist, Mayo Clinic. Raise your hand if you agree! There is no easy fix to increasing interoperability across disparate systems. Frustrations with medical image management were discussed on a thought leadership panel with Dr. Jeremy Friese, as quoted previously, and Dr. Safwan Halabi, Medical Director Radiology Informatics, Stanford Childrens’ Health.
Throughout the interactive panel, several polls were taken, revealing similar frustration and pain points among providers. Read on to learn more, or watch the complete discussion on-demand.
Poll 1- What is your greatest image sharing frustration?
An astounding 53% of respondents cited a lack of easy image sharing capabilities as their greatest frustration. A close second at 34% said all of the above, which included; lack of easy image sharing, imaging on CDs is frequently lost, frustrations regarding archiving capabilities, and inability to image-enable EHR systems. Would you raise your hand for these as well?
The tension surrounding medical image sharing is in part due to the fact that medical images are so valuable. Dr. Friese said that about 87% of the patients referred to Mayo are done so through results provided by medical imaging. However, medical imaging can possibly lead to health concerns down the road. Dr. Halabi, who works in pediatric care, noted that parents are frequently anxious concerning overexposure for children. Children are considered more at risk than adults since exposure levels are higher. Not only are physicians concerned about redundant exams, but regulations put in place by the Affordable Care Act mandate that exams only be done when absolutely necessary. Dr. Friese also notes that there is a strong movement towards getting to the right exam the first time for a quicker and more cost-effective solution for patients, providers, and payers alike. Additionally, with hospitals expanding and consolidating their network, a major challenge becomes the ease of sharing medical imaging across facilities so that care remains equally excellent across the board. The cloud has been posed as a solution to these frustrations in the medical field. Which leads us to our next poll….
Poll 2 – Have You Used the Cloud to Solve Pain Points at Your Facility?
We were happily surprised to see that the majority of respondents have used the cloud to solve many pain points (18%) or at least one or two key pain points (24%). The other half of respondents were currently rolling out cloud based solutions or had plans to in the near future.
Healthcare has been a slow industry to adopt change and move in the direction of the cloud. However, both physicians on the panel agreed that as networks expand, physicians are become more open towards new technologies and moving towards deconstructed PACS.
Dr. Friese mentioned that iPads particularly are very popular among physicians and facilities. Since they are light and portable, physicians can even use them to view medical imaging at home. Diagnostic zero-footprint viewers like that of DICOM Grid, have made anywhere and anytime collaboration considerably easier. A zero-footprint, HTML5 viewer can be accessed through the web or integrated into any PACS. Simple-to-use viewing tools are available for annotating and collaboration. Hanging protocols and viewer customization can allow an organization to cater the viewing experience to specialty physicians and surgeons. In addition, the DG viewer offers a feature that allows a physician to invite another physician into the viewer – the ultimate tool in collaboration! Speaking of collaboration and interoperability…
Poll 3 – How many of you have image-enabled your EHR?
The panelists were delighted to see that 49% of respondents had image-enabled their EHRs, a rarity in the medical world. Another large portion of the respondents were currently working to do so or planning to do so within the next year. However, 20% stated that they had no plans concerning this initiative.
Adding imaging to the EHR might seem a bit complex at first, but in fact, it’s quite simple with a cloud vendor. All EHRs have the ability to create custom URLs or links within the patient record. DICOM Grid has a simple specification for the custom links, which enables the EHR to create and embed an encrypted image link using native EHR tools. When a user clicks the link within the patient record, the appropriate study (or studies) is opened in a zero footprint viewer. Tip – check out our image-enabling the EHR eBook here!
Orchestrating systems and clinicians across locations and departments is incredibly difficult with current siloed systems. As networks continue to expand, both panelists agreed that more and more, we will see providers realizing that a system is needed to seamlessly organize data and provide patients with the information they demand.