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What the Cloud Means for Medical Groups & Practices

The “cloud” is a term that’s been around for quite awhile now, and applications like deconstructed PACS, cloud PACS, and cloud VNA are often discussed as solutions for image management hurdles. However, many practices still wonder how exactly these applications apply to them and often have a list of questions to ask. In a live webinar event, Ambra Health CMO, Mini Peiris, and Account Executive Mark Grenga, highlighted why the cloud is a critical tool for medical groups & practices and how some of the practices Ambra Heath works with have used cloud applications to innovate. You can catch the on-demand webinar here: Image Management Best Practices for Private Practices and Groups.

So, why the cloud? It’s okay – we know you’ve always wanted to ask.

At a high level, the healthcare landscape is changing as it has moved from a fee for service world to a value-based world over the past few years. This puts enormous pressure on practices to reduce costs, including the elimination of duplicate imaging exams. Practices are also seeing patients with their own specific demands. The patient of today is much more of a consumer and expects certain levels of access, like an image-enabled patient portal and easily getting to their healthcare data online.

When we speak to medical groups & practices, many are still dominated by solutions that have a way of locking information inside which translates to significant indirect cost and overhead in staff time like the administrative time managing CDs, rekeying information, and maintaining VPNs. Business continuity WHEN PACS is down (not IF PACS is down) is still a real concern for many. And with the rapidly expanding size of new imaging types, the cost of image data storage is keeping many practice leaders up at night.

This is where the cloud comes in. More than ever, we’re hearing physicians asking Why Not? when it comes to solving image management hurdles with the cloud because of the anytime, anywhere access it offers, as well as the elasticity of scale, more cost effective storage, and modern options for interoperability that are inherent in cloud solutions. Here are 4 ways the cloud can help your practice.

1) CD Elimination & Safe Image Sharing.

Ambra Health CD UploadCD elimination is the continued goal of many of the facilities that Ambra works with. CT Orthopaedic Specialists, a large orthopedic group with over 21 locations across Connecticut, is an example of an organization that sought to eliminate CDs and more easily share with referring physicians. By 2018, CT Ortho has set a goal of no longer burning CDs and instead sharing imaging with referring physicians through Ambra’s live and secure links to patient imaging. A cloud suite like that of Ambra supports medical image uploads and transfers from a variety of inputs. 

Admissions or check-in staff can upload a patient’s prior medical images from CDs with the easy-to-use one-click CD uploader so studies are available even before the patient is roomed, saving precious time during physician consults.Web upload and transfers can be used for ad-hoc patient referrals, and for regular referring facilities, set-up a gateway to ingest imaging from DICOM modalities and PACS, as well as RIS via HL7.

2) View from Anywhere at Anytime.

Diagnostic DICOM Web ViewerThe Ambra diagnostic, zero-footprint, HTML5  DICOM viewer can be accessed through the web or integrated into any PACS. Using Ambra’s browser-based, mobile-friendly viewer, physicians can access patient images from any PC, Mac, or tablet, to perform measurements, make annotations, compare images, and more. DISC Sports & Spine Center (DISC) is one of America’s foremost providers of minimally invasive spine procedures and advanced arthroscopic techniques and provides world-leading expertise to Red Bull athletes, the Los Angeles Kings, LA Tri Club, and Oracle Team USA.  With patients across the globe looking to DISC for care, speeding up access to imaging is a priority. Today, their physicians can access studies through Ambra from all different devices for a quick read in emergency situations.

3) Archiving & Storage in a Growing Network.

Ambra Health WorklistAs a comprehensive cloud solution, Ambra also helps organizations reduce risk as they grow, with cost effective cloud-based archiving, and offsite image storage. For example, CareWell Urgent Care, experienced a 300% growth in locations and study volume. By moving to Ambra Health as a cloud PACS and image-enabling athenahealth with Ambra, CareWell has experienced a 90% reduction in turnaround time on reads. A cloud PACS allows you to consolidate multiple imaging systems with one flexible, customizable, and low maintenance platform. 

4) Interoperability

The patient record, including imaging, should be unified and accessible from one web-based portal. Image management through the cloud allows practices to image-enable leading EHR systems – providing access to imaging directly from within the patient jacket. You can view and interpret results from anywhere at any time, and customize reports and templates to accurately reflect interpreted data. 

What are you waiting for? Use the cloud to solve your image management hurdles today!

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About Catherine Slotnick

Catherine Slotnick is a passionate healthcare marketer with a deep interest in the latest & greatest in the Health IT space. As Ambra Health's marketing manager, Catherine primarily focuses on creating and sharing thought leadership content in the radiology and informatics space. Catherine graduated from the University of Virginia with a BA in Psychology & Art History. When she's not writing, she enjoys cooking and petting dogs that aren't hers.

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