Besides debating which Portland-local favorite Blue Star doughnut flavor to eat next, breaking down locked away imaging systems, enhancing collaboration and bringing radiology “into the light” to be patient-centric first and foremost were a few of the discussions on the table at #SIIM16.
Old architecture involving high-maintenance on-site hardware has already become a thing of the past and leading facilities are moving full-speed ahead in a new and improved direction. The capabilities of new technologies like the cloud allow for medical imaging to be available when and where a physician or patient needs it. Delays that can impact patient care or reduce collaborative opportunities among physicians is no longer acceptable. As Aunt Minnie said, “Best-selling phone 10 years ago? Motorola Razr – a once cool technology that failed to change with the times.” Your facility should no longer be using Motorola Razr level technology.
Keeping with the patient-centric theme of the SIIM16 opening keynote by Dr. Rasu Shrestha, DICOM Grid CEO Morris Panner, discussed the capabilities of extending imaging to the EHR and patient portals. A universal viewer embedded directly in the EHR can display images from a variety of sources and provides access beyond the department where imaging is created and stored. One obvious benefit of image-enabling the patient record within the EHR is to provide physicians with immediate access to imaging when and where it is needed. The convenience and efficiency of mobilizing data across departments plays a critical role in enhancing communication, realizing faster diagnoses, reducing time-to-care delivery and ultimately, driving better patient outcomes.
During the session Panner said, “The cloud can help free imaging and reports from being trapped in informatics silos.” Dr. David Hirschorn, Director of Radiology Informatics at Staten Island University Hospital and the panel moderator, also stated, “Just #HL7 reports don’t cut it – you need imaging tightly coupled for the best patient care.” Panner also cautioned the audience that they, “…need to champion innovation within your organization – you must have a seat at the table, because otherwise, you’ll be on the menu.”
Maximizing workflow efficiencies and removing imaging from siloed systems is a constant work-in-progress. For example, at New England Baptist Health (NEBH), the majority of patient care happens outside of the walls of the facility – patients only come in for their actual surgery and post-op care. Previously, external physicians could only access medical imaging through a PACS installed by the hospital at their practice. Additionally, all CDs were uploaded at one manual upload facility. Since partnering with DICOM Grid, imaging is now available through the entire network, including on mobile devices and any computer with a browser. Additionally, all NEBH EHRs including athenahealth, eClinicalWorks and Soarian, have been image-enabled, providing contextually relevant access to imaging.
And it doesn’t just stop there. NEBH has been able to archive their entire imaging data set in a Cloud VNA (vendor neutral archive). Over 300-500 images are uploaded to the cloud VNA per week as surgeons use the images for preadmission screenings and surgical planning. Administrators utilize the VNA to check images for quality, verify image counts, and burn CDs if necessary. Additionally, in keeping with patient – minded goals, patients can upload their images from home prior to appointments through a link on the hospital’s website.
With technology breaking-down image silos everyday, what’s your facility waiting for? What do you think are the biggest barriers for implementing change in health care?