Halloween poll: Which image creeps you out the most?

Halloween is just around the corner! To celebrate in the spirit of digital imaging, we pulled together the images below and want to know: Which one do YOU think is the creepiest? Vote here.

post-explosive device mice

nailsinhead spider_l

Have something you think is even scarier than the images above? Prove it to us in the comments.

Note: Images on the left were taken from this set on Flickr (click the link for even MORE fascinating images), while the images on the right Carestream’s own creepy creations.

Vote now!

Could health care finance discussions lead to another round of imaging reimbursement cuts? – Guest post, Frost & Sullivan

Recent discussions around health care finance have raised the possibility of another round of cuts in imaging reimbursement that could be further-reaching than even the DRA of 2005.

Further cuts might seem excessive, as they would kick in at a time when early reports are indicating that the DRA would have exceeded the reduction in Medicare spending for imaging that was originally envisioned.

Among the numerous strategies currently on the table for trying to curb the increase in medical imaging spending—and one method that legislators seem to be particularly fond of—is to force an increase in the utilization rate of imaging equipment. The utilization rate is used to calculate the level of reimbursement for each type of procedure. The concept is really quite simple and it is based on the fact that if the imaging equipment is used more heavily, cost is spread out over more imaging procedures, which makes it possible to lower the cost per procedure.

While the health care community is striving for greater utilization, many providers would prefer to see national legislative efforts directed toward establishing solid order appropriateness criteria for medical imaging, leading to a reliable clinical decision support system for imaging that would ensure that patients get the right scan, at the right time.

Moreover, this would be done preferably without having to obtain prior authorization through the radiology benefit management firms (RBMs), a model that seems to be gaining favor among private payers. Indeed, there is growing concern over the fact that the role of RBMs as intermediaries between payers and providers could lead to conflicts of interest at the expense of the quality of care.

Policy discussions at the highest levels of government to drive utilization of existing equipment closer to 90% of capacity are raising red flags in the medical imaging community. However, recent lobbying efforts seem to be having an effect, pushing legislators to consider a more reasonable increase in equipment utilization rates.

These efforts were made stronger over fear of seeing low volume imaging providers go out of business, which would limit the access to advanced imaging procedures in rural areas.

What do you think about the possibility of further cuts in reimbursement?  How likely does this scenario appear?  How will it affect your business?

–Nadim Daher, with support from Antonio Garcia, Medical Imaging and Patient Monitoring | Healthcare – North America | Frost & Sullivan

Trendspotting at JFR 2009, Paris

JFR2009

I recently attended Les Journées Françaises de Radiologie (JFR) in Paris, where I spoke with numerous health care providers attending the show. One of the key themes was finding new ways to deliver quality health care despite growing cost pressures. Consumers are getting more involved in this issue, especially as they face increased taxes and options while facing increasingly expensive services.

There was a consensus that supplying a greater volume of health care services with smaller staffs and tighter budgets requires the application of innovative processes and technologies. To that end, JFR attendees said they are evaluating converting to highly productive digital imaging technologies that can deliver excellent image quality and a streamlined workflow, along with lower costs.

Greater adoption of RIS and PACS platforms was also a hot topic, driven by the need to efficiently manage, store and share patient information, imaging studies and other types of data. ASP models are being examined to allow both private and public facilities to implement new technologies in a pay-per-use model that does not require a large upfront capital investment. An added advantage is that funding for equipment maintenance and service is built-in, so costs are much easier to estimate.

We’d like to hear your ideas on this pressing global issue. How is the increased cost of healthcare affecting you personally? What concepts or technologies would you like to see adopted to help your country maintain quality health care while delivering more services at a reasonable cost? What policies both for payment and delivery of services do you see your country implementing in the near future?

Norman Yung, Chief Marketing Officer, Digital Medical Solutions

Is there finally a way to get different PACS platforms to share information effectively?

We are all familiar with the problem: Hospitals cannot easily share medical imaging exams because different vendors’ PACS platforms cannot easily communicate with each other. Radiologists are then forced to use different health care sites or workstations to read exams.

This is not exactly a model for efficiency, but a better solution may finally be at hand.

superPACS image

Carestream Health’s new SuperPACS Architecture™ will allow radiologists to read from a unified worklist of imaging studies that is created from multiple vendors’ PACS located throughout the enterprise. This new solution syncs up patient data and imaging information from different PACS into a central database and then creates a single patient worklist that can be read from any onsite or remote location.

This can enhance radiologist productivity and streamline the delivery of radiology reports to clinicians and referring physicians. Ultimately patients can benefit from faster access to treatment. Healthcare providers can achieve greater workflow efficiencies and reduced costs through shared utilization of personnel and equipment.

Would your facility benefit from this new architecture? Have you already designed a way to link imaging studies from disparate PACS platforms? Let us know what you think.

Joe Maune, Worldwide Manager, Digital Medical Solutions, Marketing Initiatives