Private practice physicians have a lot going on. They care for patients, manage medical records, act as their own IT help, and still try to save time for innovation and growth. New technology like cloud computing opens up significant opportunities for healthcare organizations large and small to transform their applications from EHR systems to PACS, and how images are managed and exchanged. During a recent thought leadership panel, physician founders, Dr. Elisha Yaghmai, Vigilias and Dr. Bruce Saffran, Life-Link shared their insights.
Throughout the 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 common everyday frustrations have you experienced when dealing with image management systems?
An astounding 50% of respondents chose all of the above. A close second at 33% said wasted patient in-room time dealing with imaging on CDs. Other providers also cited VPN failures and risky mobile phone usage. Would you raise your hand for these as well?
A recent study found that physicians spend about 80% of their time on administrative tasks and only 20% of their time with patients. Dr. Yaghmai says that CDs are still a core method of sharing imaging from PACs to PACs. “Whenever we can move images to the cloud, we should do that. The amount of benefits from cloud based imaging is substantial and should be the default mode instead of the exception to the rule.”
Streamlined care is one of the most practical benefits of implementing cloud solutions. Image interoperability is key to delivering better patient care and is becoming a cornerstone topic in today’s world of accountable care, EHRs, and mobile health innovations. By breaking down vendor silos and achieving interoperability, cloud PACS and cloud image management can improve care coordination and clinical outcomes.
Dr. Saffran also notes that the shift from a fee to value based world thanks to the Affordable Care Act has had a great affect on medical imaging. “It is so important for physicians to not repeat x-rays at every facility a patient visits. Patients must be given greater access and control over their own imaging” says, Dr. Saffran.
Poll 2 – How has the shift to value based care affected your organization?
Most providers agreed that the shift to value-based care has already made a few changes in their organization (42%) and that more will continue to be seen in the near future.
Telemedicine can profoundly transform accessibility to a wide range of medical care in rural regions. According to The Role of Telehealth in an Evolving Healthcare Environment, telehealth “Drives volume, increases quality of care and reduces costs by reducing readmissions and unnecessary emergency department visits for rural communities.” Dr. Yaghmai, who focuses on improving care in the rural healthcare space was asked, do you think the Affordable Care Act has encouraged or hampered the expansion of telehealth programs in rural communities? Dr. Yaghmai noted that although telemedicine allows for expanded care to communities, traditional insurance companies are still very used to paying for medical visits completed within the walls of a physical hospital. “Many private insurers are not interested in providing coverage for patients seeking care outside of these traditional facilities” says Dr. Yaghmai. Insurers also remain skeptical regarding the real capabilities of telemedicine. “Insurers look at telemedicine from a view that is 5-6 years old,” says Dr. Yaghami.
Poll 3 – Where does your organization fall in the search for a PACS or launching new virtual services?
The panelists were delighted to see that that majority of respondents are looking for a new PACs solution or exploring future initiatives involving the cloud, like tele-rad and second opinion services at 38% and 25% respectively.
However, exploring future initiatives can certainly be a challenge for busy and frequently conservative physicians. Dr. Saffran says, ” Doctors are conservative people who have a hard time embracing change.”
Dr. Yagmai concurs and notes that in addition to PACs systems, EHRs keep information locked inside them and require hours wasted in administration, yet physicians remain hesitant to implement changes. For example, 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.
Even if you have already invested in a PACS, and it sufficiently handles the majority of your imaging needs, you may want to extend its functionality. You can supplement your current PACS investment with cloud solutions aimed at solving your specific challenges, such as CD ingestion, image sharing, mobile access, long-term storage, etc. In addition, you may want to consider utilizing a cloud platform as a form of redundancy to ensure business continuity if your primary PACS goes down.