Mobile Devices, Imaging Apps, and the Future of Healthcare

Cristine Kao

Cristine Kao, Global Marketing Manager, Healthcare IT, Carestream

Physicians are incorporating iPads and other mobile devices into their practices at an unprecedented pace. A 2012 study conducted by Manhattan Research, involving 3,015 U.S. practitioners in over 25 specialties, revealed that a remarkable 62% of doctors now utilize these devices – nearly doubling the adoption rate since 2011.

Recently, I read an article in the N.Y. Times exploring this trend and its potential impacts on the future of Medicine. The piece notes that the proliferation of mobile devices has created something of a “generational divide” in the medical field. It contends that while most younger doctors enthusiastically embrace the digital revolution, some older practitioners have a serious concern – namely, that the growing focus on technology may erode the “human connection” historically at the foundation of the doctor-patient relationship.

This is an issue worthy of discussion. And certainly, technology is no substitute for a caring and engaged bedside manner.  But as a leading provider of healthcare imaging applications for iPads and other devices, we at Carestream are convinced that when properly employed, tablet technology has great potential to actually strengthen the doctor-patient relationship.

Our own Vue Motion, FDA cleared for use on iPads, is a good example. It’s a zero-footprint viewer that provides physicians with easy and intuitive access to patient images and exam data on mobile devices. Vue Motion benefits the physician-patient relationship in many ways.

For example, consider this scenario – one that can really shake a patient’s confidence: the individual has been sent for X-rays and returns to the primary care physician to learn the results. But the doctor begins this follow-up visit by leafing slowly the patient’s folder, intently studying various documents. This goes on for some time. The patient begins to wonder – is the doctor reading my test results for the first time? Or worse yet, is he trying to remember my previous appointment and the details of my health problem? I’ve been in this very situation myself more than once, and it made me quite uneasy about where I stood on the doctor’s priority list.

With Vue Motion it’s a whole different story. The images and report data aren’t in a folder, on a CD, or on a piece of film somewhere. They’re right at the doctor’s fingertips, instantly accessible on a web-enabled device, with no download required.

The intuitive user interface requires no special training, so it’s as simple as opening up a film jacket and displaying the critical information. This makes it fast and easy for the physician to review the patient’s images and clinical portfolio – earlier in the day or just prior to the appointment – and enter the exam room in full command of the situation and its details. This helps maximize the patient’s trust and confidence.

In addition, Vue Motion is an overall time-saver and productivity booster, allowing the doctor to spend more time with patients. This is highly beneficial in strengthening the doctor-patient bond. Here’s an insightful article by Dr. Suzanne Koven in The Boston Globe that focuses on how that extra time can dramatically elevate the quality of care.

Vue Motion also has great potential to improve doctor-patient communication. Physicians and patients can now view diagnostic images together in the office or at bedside. This “visual aid” allows the doctor to explain more clearly and give the patient a fuller understanding of his or her condition. Finally, Vue Motion makes it easy for physicians to collaborate with other clinicians, across town or across the country, to raise the both the standard of care and patient satisfaction.

Putting digital healthcare information in the patient’s hands is another way to strengthen the patient-provider relationship. Our MyVue* offering lets doctors empower patients to play an active and important role in their own care. When patients have x-rays taken, they can then go online in the comfort of their own homes and view those images. Not long after, they can read the radiologist’s report as well. All data remains secure and confidential.

Moreover, MyVue allows the patient to share their images and reports with their primary-care doctor, specialists, or healthcare facilities. They simply authorize the selected individuals to log in and view their images. And, they can revoke that authorization at any time – so they always feel that they’re in control.

With MyVue, patients feel included and trusted by their doctors. In fact, it lets them partner with their doctors in the management of their healthcare – and further strengthens the physician-patient bond.

And how is MyVue going over with patients? A recent case study showed 50% patient engagement, with patients actively using and sharing their healthcare information. This was supported by an implementation combining simple technology, intuitive design and appropriate education.

As physicians’ use of iPads and other devices continues to grow, I believe we’ll be seeing an example of how technology can actually serve to support the vital human connection at the core of quality care.

*Available February 2013

Information Technology (“IT”) Trends – Predictions Through 2015.

Diana Nole, Carestream Health

Diana L. Nole, President, Digital Medical Solutions

In a recent webinar, Gartner, the information-technology research and advisory firm, outlined the 10 trends they believe will have the greatest impact on IT through 2015. While some of their predictions struck me as less-than-revelatory – citing trends already self-evident in the industry – some of their other speculations are both interesting and insightful.

In any case, this forecast is a great jumping-off point for further thought and discussion. Below, I’ve condensed Gartner’s major points into an easy-to-scan overview. What do you think of their analysis and predictions?   I encourage you to share your responses. If you want to dig deeper, you can view Gartner’s presentation, as published in Health Data Management’s  online magazine.

1) Consumerization and the Tablet

The growing use of tablets by customers will require companies to intensify their focus on security issues, use profiles, and planned integration.

2) The Infinite Data Center

Data centers will achieve “logical growth without physical growth” – handling more data with far less infrastructure.

3) Resource Management

Organizations’ energy consumption and management will become an “enterprise-level discipline.”

4)   Mobility

A growing mobile focus will drive an IT paradigm shift, security will be a greater concern, and creating portals for myriad devices will be a serious challenge.

5) Hybrid Clouds

Businesses will transition form their current cloud-based solutions to reap the benefits of private and hybrid clouds.

6) Fabric Data Centers

The integration of disparate IT elements via fabric data centers will help optimize workflows. Fabric-based computers will follow, offering pooled global resources.

7) IT Complexity

As every 25% gain in functionality drives a 100% increase in system complexity, companies will have to squeeze every cent from their IT dollars.

8) Big Data — Big Problems

The challenges of managing and using immense quantities of data will increase – making virtualized storage, de-duplication, and prioritizing of data crucial.

9) The End of Service Desks

Users’ demand for immediate, real-time support will grow, and service desks will become inadequate – transitioning into business productivity teams.

10) Virtual- and Software-Defined Networks

Increased automation, hardware/software separation, simplified design and other factors will change the interactions between systems, humans and one another.

Having contemplated these predictions, I believe that there’s an overarching trend that encompasses them all –– a trend accelerating at an exponential rate. Bill Gates articulated it well when he said: “Information technology and business are becoming inextricably interwoven. I don’t think anybody can talk meaningfully about one without talking about the other.”

Nowhere is this more relevant than in the business of medical imaging. Clinician productivity, diagnostic speed and accuracy, patient satisfaction, the quality of care we provide – all of these can grow and improve only as fast as our ability to effectively manage healthcare information.

You can explore some of Carestream’s leading-edge imaging IT solutions here.

Innovative Tools To Improve Clinical Quality: Montage Signal

At RSNA 2012 there was a subtle shift in emphasis from radiologist productivity to clinical quality, no doubt driven by greater quality reporting and pay-for-performance requirements.  Shown as a prototype in the Carestream booth, Montage Healthcare Solutions demonstrated Montage Signal™, a new software capability that flags report inconsistencies during radiology report dictation and identifies errors in real-time that can degrade clinical quality and reduce reimbursement.

Montage selected Carestream Vue Reporting as a proven radiologist workflow platform for demonstrating Signal. Signal is an extension of the Montage search-driven radiology business intelligence and clinical quality analytics tools that help practices understand and improve productivity and clinical quality. Visitors to the Carestream booth saw Montage Signal flag reports containing laterality and gender errors, critical test results and incomplete billing documentation—all before report finalization.

Montage search provides access to the unstructured clinical information in radiology reports, enabling radiologists to answer complex clinical questions without disrupting reading workflow. The result is clinical quality improvement and continuous learning because report creation can now occur in the context of prior clinical findings.

Woojin Kim, M.D.,  Interim Chief of Division of Musculoskeletel Imaging at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and  Co-founder of Montage Healthcare Solutions, stopped by our social media broadcast lounge at RSNA to share his thoughts on the next step in clinical quality improvements and the importance of integrating tools into the reading workflow:

What other ways can we prevent errors before they come part of the clinical record?  What analytic innovations did you see at RSNA? 

IT Will See You Now – The Seamless Patient Engagement Experience

Dr.Stenoien

Randall A. Stenoien, MD, CEO, Houston Medical Imaging

Houston Medical Imaging’s experience with Carestream’s MyVue Patient Portal* is no stranger to Everything Rad. I’ve previously shared our patient engagement figures and examples driving our patient portal business case, but a question I continue to be asked is “what burden did this place on your IT staff and resources?”

I’ll admit it. Before we embarked on our MyVue trial I had a few sleepless nights worrying about how many patients would be able to adopt this technology and how difficult it would be.

We all have that friend, co-worker or family member who struggles with technology. You know, the one who thinks their computer is frozen but their elbow is resting on the space bar. I think my IT guys call them “PICNICs” – Problem. In. Chair. Not. In. Computer.

But even the most tech savvy of us can get lost in the simplest online banking site and need IT support to make an account transfer.

What percentage of my engaged patients would require dedicated training and assistance? Do I have the resources I need to support them?

Surprisingly, three months into our trial, the migration to MyVue has been seamless because it is so user-friendly.

With MyVue, a unique and secure log-in is generated and emailed to each patient after their exam. Patient images can be accessed through the secure log-in from a variety of devices.  Once registered, patients can view their study and manage who they want to share with.

We’ve had patients at our front desk and we’re explaining to them you’re going to get two emails a welcoming email and then an email that tells you how to log on and in a matter of seconds it’s on their phone and we’ve had patients say “Oh! I’ve already got it.”

I expected the phones to be ringing and my IT people to be complaining and yelling at me, but that just hasn’t happened. Patients are able to do it by themselves the majority of the time.

In fact, of our 2662 unique patient accounts, we only received 47 support calls—primarily for password resets. That’s less than 2 percent. Compare that to the IT industry benchmark of an average of 1.2 calls per month per end user to a service desk.

Houston Medical Imaging Trial

The biggest surprise of our trade trial was how quickly and easily our patients have adopted and how little extra work it has caused for our IT department or medical records people to have to bare.

By combining an intuitive platform with good planning and strong first-time user education, we’re able to offer an innovative technology service that keeps my IT team becoming part of the primary care team.

You can download the full case study of our MyVue experience.

*Available February 2013

Healthcare Reform Opens Doors for Mobile Screening Mammography Services

The 2012 RSNA meeting marked the 30th anniversary of the show from which Debora Wright’s mobile mammography screening business, Inner Images, was born. Three decades later, the current healthcare climate set a different at the meeting, but for Debora and Inner Images,  reform has opened doors and growth.

In this video, we speak with Debora from RSNA 2012 about how the move to digital mammography has helped her business’ productivity through this growth period.


Are you excited about the direction mammography is heading? What changes or benefits do you think we might see at next year’s RSNA?

Reflections on RSNA 2012 and the Progress in Intelligent Information Systems

On the last day of RSNA 2012, Dr. Eliot Siegel, Professor and Vice Chair University of Maryland School of Medicine Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, Chief of Imaging at VA Maryland Healthcare System in Baltimore, and a member of Carestream’s Advisory Group, a collective of medical professionals that advises the company on healthcare IT trends, stopped by the Carestream booth to reflect on the focus on imaging informatics at this year’s event. Dr. Siegel comments on the opportunity to use information systems to empower and educate patients,  to make radiology more visible in patient care, and to drive the future of radiology.

What IT innovations caught your attention at RSNA? 

Guess the X-Ray – December’s Image Challenge

Congratulations to those who correctly identified November’s image — a jar of marbles!

Marbles

With the holidays quickly approaching at the end of the month, you might find yourself traveling to spend time with family and friends. What items do you normally pack when you travel?

There are ten essentials in this traveler’s bag. Can you guess all of them correctly?

Place your best guess in the comments!

December Image Challenge

The “Guess the X-Ray” challenge runs until January 2.  The first person to correctly identify all ten items will be the winner.

Happy guessing!

Sorry… Carestream employees and their agencies are prohibited from entering.