Healthcare IT Lessons from Israel

Guest Post:  Philip Ward, Editor-in-Chief, AuntMinnieEurope.com

 Israel- home to some of the most advanced medical information technology systems in the world – doesn’t always get the coverage it deserves in the global medical media. The country’s well equipped, modern and efficient hospitals should get more attention for their use of innovative technology to improve patient care.

Our associate editor Frances Rylands-Monk recently investigated Israel’s Clalit Health Services’ digital radiology workflow.  The world’s second largest HMO with a nationwide network of 14 hospitals, 39 imaging centres, 1,400 clinics, 400 pharmacies, 37 children’s health centres and 32 women’s health centres serves more than four million members.

Dr. Arnon Makori, director of imaging IT and PACS; Dr. Ziv Rosenbaum, director of medical technology; and Dr. Ehud Davidson, head of hospital division, shared their experience with implementing and using PACS to centrally manage and access information from any location for more than five million procedures annually,

How has PACS equated to better patient care?

In this figure, doctors were able to save the life of a 40-year-old patient following a road traffic accident. CT angiography at Meir Medical Center (level II trauma) demonstrated a contained but life-threatening traumatic rupture of the aorta. Meir emergency room doctors needed a consultation with the cardiothoracic unit in Rabin Medical Center (level I trauma). Using the PACS, both groups were able to view in real-time the CT study containing 2,000 images (1,000 MB of imaging data). The advanced visualization tools embedded in the PACS made it possible to complete the diagnosis and surgical planning faster.

Maximal intensity projection (MIP) and volume rendering (VR) of the ruptured aorta.

Israel’s experience with digital radiology systems and trauma imaging is a great example of the power of patient-centric enterprise imaging management – we’re happy to give it the attention it deserves.

Frances’ two articles have been devoured by our readers.  We hope you’ll benefit from Clalit’s knowledge and tips for your PACS implementation.

Read more:

Enterprise-wide PACS enhances patient management in Israel

10 golden rules for PACS implementation: Tips from Israel

AuntMinnieEurope.com is free-of-charge, and provides daily news and weekly case reports from across Europe.

Mobile DR Can Save 10-20 Minutes in Surgery

Larry Kirschner, Radiology Team Leader, Heartland Regional Medical Center, is using Mobile DR in the operating room.  For his facility this results in a quantifiable return:  Surgeons can save 10-20 minutes per case, which can mean an extra surgery per day per room.

How is your facility using imaging during surgery?

15th Annual Mammography Course Offers Education in Breast Imaging

I recently talked with Dr. Michael Linver, X-Ray Associates of New Mexico, about the upcoming 15th Annual Mammography Course in Santa Fe, NM, August 8-12.

I’ve spoken before about the importance of continued education and this breast imaging event gives attendees hands on screening opportunity. During the workshop radiologists will evaluate 100 mammography studies on dedicated workstations, allowing attendees to rate themselves throughout the event.  Discussions will also include the use of Ultrasound, Tomosynthesis and Breast MRI.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyNGIqZb5kU]

Will you be there?  Have you attended previously? We’d love to hear about your experience!

Mobile Retrofit Kits Increase the Value of Portables

The addition of DR detectors to existing mobile x-ray systems can:

  • Increase efficiency
  • Improve productivity
  • Optimize image quality
  • Reduce dose

Jimmy Ogle, Worldwide Product Manager, Digital Radiography, Carestream Health, explains how the use of wireless, cassette-sized detectors in portable imaging has changed the landscape of bedside imaging.

Replacement PACS “Rules of Engagement”

Twenty percent of imaging facilities will replace their PACS system by next year.  This is a daunting task for even the most well-prepared facilities.  Before starting down the road to replace an existing IT system, it’s helpful to learn from the experience of others, who can answer questions like:

  1. How can you be sure the new PACS can handle your volume of studies?
  2. What’s the best way to transition to a new vendor?
  3. Can you replacement PACS help you prepare for the integration of imaging and the EMR?
  4. What should you know about disaster recovery?
  5. How can you build a system that can handle future growth?
  6. Is there a way to capitalize on your existing IT infrastructure?
  7. How will you track the performance of your radiology department?

St. John Medical Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Winthrop University Hospital, an academic medical center in Long Island, New York, both considered these questions when they recently upgraded their PACS systems.  In this video webinar they help explain the “Rules of Engagement” for replacing your PACS:

You might also like to hear directly from Mary Tierney from Health Imaging and IT, who offers suggestions for facilities looking to replace their PACS.

Is your facility thinking about replacement PACS?

Meaningful Use in Radiology is Still Top of Mind

While it’s been established that Meaningful Use applies to radiology,  the topic still challenges radiologists as they prepare for compliance.  Earlier this week we sponsored “The Evolution of Meaningful Use in Radiology” seminar in Dallas, Texas, featuring Keith J. Dreyer, D.O., Ph.D. , Associate Chairman, Medical Imaging, Massachusetts General Hospital, Assistant Professor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School, and David S. Mendelson, M.D., FACR, Professor of Radiology, Chief of Clinical Informatics MSMC, Director of Radiology Information Systems, Pulmonary Radiology, The Mount Sinai Medical Center.

The goal of the session was to help attendees better understand the path to meaningful use, what compliance would look like at their facility and encourage the radiology department to get actively involved in the process.

Miranda Sullivan, St. Francis Hospital, Tulsa, Oklahoma, is responsible for Quality Control for Radiology and came to the seminar to be able to ensure her IT department, which is leading  meaningful use compliance efforts, understands the implications for radiology .

Rob Brull, Corepoint Health,  also attended the session and blogged about the importance of events like this focused on educating the radiology community and  setting expectations for future meaningful use criteria.

To hear more from Dr. Dreyer and other Meaningful Use experts, listen to our Meaningful Use Podcast Series.

Radiology EMRs Central to Patient Centric Care

Guest Post:  Greg Freiherr, a frequent contributor to Medscape and Diagnostic Imaging Europe, as well as a consultant to the medical imaging industry

Patients are increasingly demanding access to electronic medical records. This is happening at precisely the time when advances in consumer electronics and healthcare IT are converging to provide the means to make this possible. Mobile devices, Droids, iPhones and tablets are proliferating.

Much of the discussion about mobile devices has focused on what they mean to the medical community for speedy diagnosis and expert consultation.  However, patients are the ultimate customers of medical services, and their use of healthcare information technologies will have a big impact on the adoption of IT equipment and the future of radiology.

For a lesson in the importance of a patient focus, look back at the late 1990s:

  • Makers of MR scanners previously paid little attention to patient comfort, focusing instead on technical performance and clinical results.
  • Sales of new MR systems fell precipitously in the mid 1990s.
  • Late in the decade open scanners with tapered then ultra short wide bore magnets re-energized the MR market when Hitachi aggressively marketed its patient-friendly MRs.

The same can be true in the radiology space.  Generating radiological reports that include the diagnostic, therapeutic and prognostic details to help healthcare savvy patients understand their conditions – with arrows, circles and outlines of pathology drawn on relevant images – will bridge the technical gap that separates radiologists and patients.

Vendors who develop IT software that allows patients to view these images and reports will help patients – as well as referring physicians – better recognize the value of radiology.

It is not enough for radiology to be indispensible to patient management. Radiology must also be appreciated for its ability to interpret images.  The way to do that is by winning the hearts and minds of patients with critical information at their fingertips.

How is your practice winning the hearts of patients?

Technology Enables Facilities to Do More with Less

Charlie McCaffrey, MD, UK & Ireland, Carestream Health, talked with us about the changes in the European healthcare environment and the impact this has on the practice of healthcare. As facilities are challenged to deliver better results with less expense, technology like the CARESTREAM DRX Family and the CARESTREAM Vue portfolio help improve efficiency.

Proof that Regular Mammography Screening Works

Anne Richards, Carestream Health There’s been a lot debate in recent years over at what age screening mammography should begin, and how often it should be repeated. Now, 29 years after researchers began a study of 130,000 women in Sweden, they’ve reported in an article published in Radiology that regular mammograms reduce breast cancer deaths. What’s more, the number of lives saved goes up with each year of screening.

And that, my friends, should end the debate over the value of screening mammography.

While this long-running study does not deal with what is the ideal frequency, it does scientifically prove that regular screening works.

If you’ve been involved in mammography for as long as I have you’ve seen the steady and continuous progress that’s taken place in this field.

Remember when we first had a film dedicated to mammography?

How about a printer optimized specifically for and dedicated to digital mammographic images?

Over the 29 years of the Swedish study, the technology we have used to screen women for breast cancer has certainly gotten better. Carestream and other manufacturers have devoted significant R&D to technological advances such as the shift from wet to dry processing and the development of digital image acquisition. We may take these technological advances for granted, but we’re now able to find more types of breast cancer at an earlier stage. We’re detecting them at smaller and smaller sizes. And we’re having a positive impact on mortality rates

At the same time, we’ve made great strides in workflow, training and techniques. Let’s not forget the importance of our patients: by getting regular mammograms, they’re giving their radiologists the historical perspective that can lead to the identification of subtle changes from year to year.

At the end of the day—this day—mammography is still the best tool at our disposal to find the most cancers. I, for one, am glad it’s a tool we can depend on.

What milestone in mammographic imaging has had the most impact on your professional life?

Carestream Introduces CARESTREAM Vue for Healthcare Information Solutions

Cristine Kao, Marketing, Healthcare Information Solutions, Carestream Health, introduces the CARESTREAM Vue portfolio of IT solutions. The healthcare IT market has shifted, and imaging IT is now seen as a global enterprise solution. CARESTREAM Vue will help customers better align their needs across specialties with Carestream’s IT solutions.