Enterprise image viewers aren’t all equal; get the guide
An enterprise image viewer is your organization’s connection among stakeholders, linking radiologists with referring physicians, patients with doctors, and clinicians at home with specialists across the country.
It’s understood that the most crucial aspect of every radiology diagnostic report is the image. Yet referring physicians and other clinicians typically see only words—the written reports and conclusions dictated by radiologists.
An enterprise image viewer – also known as an universal image viewer – bridges the gap, displaying images of many types—not just DICOM—and other clinical data such as JPEG photos, videos, ECGs, and scanned PDF clinical documents. A new white paper, “Enterprise Access Viewer”, explores and explains the requirements for an effective universal image viewer.
Enterprise image viewer – easy access helps minimize cost and dose Continue reading
What is your cloud strategy for medical imaging? Two large hospitals see it differently
Cloud strategies for storing and accessing medical images across the enterprise are front and center in healthcare IT these days. The increasing sophistication of imaging technology has resulted in substantial increases in imaging data.
The upside of this evolution is that clinicians have more imaging information available to aid in diagnosis and treatment. The downside is that the vast increase in imaging data is putting pressure on provider data centers everywhere.
As storage requirements increase with every new modality, the cloud is no longer an optional part of your enterprise imaging strategy. It is rapidly becoming an essential component. Our new cloud strategies white paper shares the experiences of two different imaging providers with a cloud strategy. Continue reading
Health IT systems shift from record keeping to access that enables clinical collaboration
Until the middle of the last decade, the primary goal of the EMR/EHR was actually to capture information, not to provide access to it – impeding clinical collaboration. It was a reference for doctors—a way to capture patient notes. It has since evolved from an archival role to an active collaborative role, providing access to reports, records, and images for all stakeholders involved in patient care.
Availability of a useful, problem-focused medical record
The idea for a comprehensive, organized medical record was pioneered by Dr. Larry Weed in 1956, but it didn’t become well accepted in the U.S. until after 1968. Dr. Weed—known as the father of the Problem-Oriented Medical Record (PMD)—described the concept in his often cited NEJM articles.
Throughout the U.S. and worldwide, equipment decision criteria are not so different
There are clear advantages to having new, up-to-date medical devices; including gains in productivity and efficiency. Medical equipment can support the movement to reduce healthcare costs and increase its efficiency and effectiveness. This movement is worldwide, and nothing new, as a McKinsey report stated a few years ago. “Today, medical device companies operate in a different world. In developed countries, healthcare systems are under acute financial pressure…. Developing economies are transforming the environment, too…. Success in emerging markets requires a deep understanding of stakeholders’ needs.”
New stakeholders influence purchase decisions
And new stakeholders are changing the way organizations look at the purchase of medical equipment. “In the developed world, decisions that used to be the sole preserve of doctors are now also made by regulators, hospital administrators, and other non-clinicians…. The result of this phenomenon is a shift from individual outcomes to a focus on population-level effectiveness.” Also, big data is beginning to offer a new level of evidence-based data that helps us evaluate the true advantages of technology.
The challenges and pathways to creating a unified framework for capturing, distributing and accessing clinical information
What is interoperability in healthcare? Interoperability can be described as a well-functioning central nervous system, coordinating the enterprise’s many roles and tasks toward a common end: the well-being of each patient.
But when communications are slow, incomplete, or missing between any two entities — patients and providers, primary-care physicians and specialists, central and remote locations, and so on — the timeliness and quality of patient care can suffer. Many other parts of the total healthcare ecosystem can be affected as well: costs can rise, resources can be allocated inefficiently, and opportunities for constructive collaboration can be lost.
Information generated by different systems, on different networks and for different purposes becomes far more useful when a unified framework is in place for capturing, distributing and using the information. Ideally, with the appropriate security credentials, any individual user or collaborative team should be able to interact with the information they need, in the format they prefer, on their choice of device.
Why is interoperability important to healthcare?
Every stakeholder in the healthcare delivery process stands to benefit from interoperable systems built on interoperability standards that deliver collaborative transparency and efficiency. These stakeholders include patients who want to take more active responsibility for their own health; primary care physicians and specialists who are seeking meaningful collaboration, without information gaps, delays, or redundancies that could compromise quality; and providers in remote and rural areas who need the ability to share clinical images and data with centrally located specialists. Continue reading
Preparing for the next-generation of medical imaging data and analytics
Today, the cloud is a grownup with a seat at the IT table. The major issues around the cloud (security, access and speed) have been satisfactorily resolved by industries outside of healthcare: technology, software, financial services, and retail have been using the cloud for years.
Of course, healthcare does have its own unique issues of privacy, security and access that make it slow to adopt any new technology, and the cloud has been no exception. But progress has been made. In a recent annual study of 125 large and small cloud users, for the first time in 2016, security was not the first concern mentioned. Technology has jumped ahead to meet the challenges of healthcare’s journey to value.
The cloud is an essential part of the healthcare industry’s IT structure/restructure to reduce costs, increase clinical collaboration and speed up clinicians’ access to information. As larger study files boost storage requirements, Intel and Carestream have partnered in Intel’s Storage Builder Program. The purpose of the collaboration is to blend Carestream’s expertise in healthcare information systems with Intel’s technological prowess to increase the performance of Carestream’s PACS and RIS systems and to make them more useful to clinicians. For example, Carestream recently deployed the new Intel® Solid-State Drive (SSD) Data Center (DC) Family for PCle® P3700 featuring Non-Volatile Memory Express™ (NVMe™) and observed a threefold increase in throughput in that portion of the Carestream Vue workflow.
CIO eBook chronicles healthIT migration from paper to electronic record keeping
Three years ago, when we embarked on our CIO eBook, the healthcare IT world was in a different place. EHR adoption was starting to rise, enabling more complete information access electronically within the enterprise. Images were not typically available via a patient portal. They were hand-carried by the patient or sent by messenger to the referring physician. 3D studies were less prevalent, and study file size was smaller. Storage was a threat, but not a major obstacle. Cloud storage was commonplace for other industries, but not healthcare. Now look at how far we’ve come.
To understand the journey, read the eBook, “From Trust to Use and Beyond,” for a look at the major factors that have been driving clinical collaboration and change in healthcare IT. The interactive eBook takes a case study approach to the critical issues that are at the root of healthcare IT: trust, access, data, mobility, interoperability, integration and VNAs. Here’s a summary of what you’ll learn:
The issue of trust is at the heart of Chapter 1 in our CIO eBook. Clinicians are coping with change by placing trust in the things that have worked for them in the past. They know that when they spend time with patients, outcomes improve. Yet there is never enough time available. Meanwhile, adopting new procedures and a new workflow, no matter how promising the results might sound, is perceived as taking time away from patient care. So clinicians are skeptical. Chapter 1, “Building Trust”, is the story of Maureen Gaffney from Winthrop-University Hospital on Long Island, NY. She is a clinician—physician’s assistant (PA-C) and RN who has ascended to Senior Vice President Clinical Operations and Chief Medical Information Officer (CMIO).
Ms. Gaffney’s approach to transforming her hospital was clear from the start. She began by enlisting the buy-in of senior management at the hospital, ensuring resources and transparency. Most of the actions taken on behalf of her project were guided by multidisciplinary committees which always included a clinician and an informatics specialist as members. The starting place was to ensure data integrity, coupled with an understanding of how the data would be used, and how the electronic version would fit into the clinical workflow. Continue reading
Join the Carestream health IT forum
Everyone has social networks; some online and others offline. These social networks are built around interpersonal relationships among friends, family and acquaintances. In contrast, the foundation of online communities is mutual interests rather than personal relationships.
In healthcare IT, the common interest is using technology solutions to their fullest and sharing ideas for innovations to improve productivity and patient care. The online community becomes even more powerful when users of technology are connected to the provider of the solution, giving everyone a comfortable forum to learn and benefit from each other. As a result, new and deeper relationships can be formed, and a greater level of trust can be achieved.
Carestream has a worldwide virtual community for users of its health IT product portfolio, Carestream Vue. The group, called VIBE (Very Important Board of End Users) is a forum for our IT customers to communicate, collaborate and educate each other – and with Carestream. Direct collaboration between Carestream and our end users is essential to making sure that our products are in synch with the market’s changing needs. Our users are very active in the online forum, with a 40% engagement rate – much higher than the industry benchmark of 15%. Here’s why they participate:
Integrating clinical information supports the needs of the community
Baystate Health is an integrated delivery network (IDN) that includes five hospitals and more than 90 primary and specialty care practices serving a region of western Massachusetts with 800,000 residents. We know that patients who are coming to our facilities are also visiting other facilities outside of our network. As a result, they might be at risk of receiving duplicate procedures and imaging exams.
To address these concerns and to enhance patient care, we spent several million dollars to expand our electronic health record (EHR) into a regional health information exchange (HIE). We then invited hospitals and physician groups outside our network to participate at no cost to make our HIE both attractive and more effective.
Starting with an electronic medical record (EMR) and associated applications that provide demographic, claim and coding data, we built a clinical data repository that integrates and aggregates clinical information from Baystate entities and facilitates interfaces with disparate data sources from other organizations and their EMRs. Our platform addresses the challenge of standardizing the proprietary code language and data sets from the various EMR platforms to create a comprehensive view of patient health information.
Impact on healthcare information systems for CIOs
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) defines precision medicine as an emerging approach for disease treatment and prevention that takes into account individual variability in genes, environment and lifestyle for each person.
Like many of the broad healthcare initiatives supported with major funding from the U.S. government, this one will have an impact
on how the healthcare enterprise provides access to information to the clinicians who collaborate to make precision medicine work in practice as well as in theory.
Genomic information is stored and shared in a number of formats – PDF, Variant Call Format (VCF) and DICOM images – developed by bioinformatics specialists. Planning to store and provide enterprise distribution to this body of documents, images and reports is a key part of planning for today’s Enterprise Archive (VNA). Because it is often the repository of choice for images requiring distribution across an enterprise, the VNA is a logical system for facilitating the distribution of genomic material to the stakeholders in precision medicine.