UKRC Reflection – Image Storage & Access Advancements

Becky McCall

Becky McCall, freelance medical journalist, London, UK

As a relative newcomer to radiology, I was impressed by the range of advanced imaging technologies showcased at the recent UKRC meeting in Manchester. But in practical terms, it could be argued that the images are only as good as a system’s ability to store them and make them readily available to clinicians (and even patients) when and where needed.

I can only comment that from a journalist’s perspective, but my productivity is tightly associated with my access to information wherever I am in the world – so much so that my lap top is the first thing packed in my suitcase. Forget the toothbrush- just not my indispensable means of accessing the Internet.

And that’s just journalism. It begs the question of how clinical medicine with consequences for patient lives has managed with paper and film until so recently? Perhaps the answer is simply that they haven’t, and rather that they have struggled, and that cloud technology could not come quick enough.

It’s timely for other reasons, too. Accessing images and patient reports over the Internet goes hand in hand with the explosion in data volumes. As testament to this unprecedented growth in the need to document patient data, a recent analysis by researchers Frost & Sullivan estimates the European patient data storage market will reach $2,473.0 million in 2017.

Quoted in the analysis press release, Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Somsainathan says, “as the resolution of images becomes higher, data volumes swell, thereby increasing the need for advanced data storage. Data sharing is becoming a vital component in healthcare delivery to ensure uninterrupted and highly efficient treatment of patients, irrespective of their demographic location.”

From a clinical perspective, improved storage and access can only benefit patient care. No more lost images, speed of decision making because data is available across distant locations, and improved patient understanding of their disease are all upsides.

At UKRC I had the opportunity to speak with Patrick Koch, Carestream’s Worldwide Business Director for Vue Cloud Services, about patient empowerment in image sharing.  Patrick says the huge surge in gadgets like smartphones and iPads makes it easy for patients to enter the clinical knowledge framework. “A patient portal like Carestream’s MyVue* allows them to view medical images and reports wherever they can connect,” says Koch. “The general move towards more consumer-led healthcare is putting patients in the driving seat by providing them with the tools to manage their own healthcare data.”

You can read my full interview with Patrick on MedImaging.net.

What do you think? Is patient empowerment the next step in image sharing?

*MyVue is a works-in-progress

Spire Healthcare Gives Clinicians On-Demand Access to Imaging Data

Robert Ashby, Carestream

Robert Ashby, European Communications Manager, Carestream Health

The IT director and Imaging Manager at the UK’s second largest private healthcare provider, Spire Healthcare, had an interesting challenge. How do you use technology to provide better service for both patients and referring physicians, who have a choice of where to go for care, when your 37 hospitals are on different PACS platforms?

To differentiate their services, Spire sought a secure, PACS and archive-agnostic image viewer that would be accessible from almost any device—predominantly iPads and other tablets—running a Web browser with no local installation or download.

Since January, Spire has been using Carestream’s Vue Motion viewer to allow radiologists and referring physicians to see PACS images from all 37 sites in the Spire network—on the way to the operating room, at the patient bedside or even from home.

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Stephen Hayward, IT Director, Andrew Milne, Imaging Manager, and Dr. Qaiser Malik, Consultant Radiologist, to talk about their experience with Carestream Vue Motion:

Three professionals with different views on the value of freeing images from the PACS workstation.

IT Director, Stephen Hayward

“There is certainly a huge future in mobile health. Having access to care records and reports on a mobile device at the clinician’s finger tips will be a great boom going forward.”

Imaging Manager, Andrew Milne

“Our consultants can access the system remotely, download, and print without any interaction with my staff. This reduces the traffic into the imaging department and makes our service much more efficient. Staff is free to deal with other matters directly involving patient care.”

Consulting Radiologist, Dr. Qaiser Malik

“The clinician may come across a report and he may want to discuss it with me when I may not actually be there.  I can log in to the system wherever I am.  He can log in from the hospital and we can both look at the same images at the same time.”

At UKRC this week? Come see Vue Motion in stand 99. 

Day 1 UKRC: A Look at Radiology Trends and Cone beam CT R&D Projects

David H. Foos, Clinical Applications Research, Carestream

Editor’s note:   UKRC opens today in Manchester, UK. The annual Congress of  The British Institute of RadiologyThe Society and College of Radiographers, and The Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine, covers all aspects of diagnostic imaging. Before heading to the show,  David H. Foos, Clinical Applications Research, Carestream, weighed in on the hot topics and R&D projects he’ll be focused on during his time at UKRC.

Q: UKRC opens today.  How many times have you visited the show?

I’ve had the opportunity to participate in a variety of scientific conferences and trade shows over many years, including the RSNA, SIIM, SPIE Medical Imaging, European Congress of Thoracic Radiology, CARS, ECR, and Society of Thoracic Radiologists. However, this will be my first time attending the UKRC.  I am very much looking forward to the scientific component of the congress.

UKRCQ: Give us your take on the current trends in radiology. What’s your view on radiation dose?  

One of the important trends in radiology is the increasing attention that is being given to issues surrounding radiation dose. Much of this attention has focused on CT and fluoroscopy procedures, but the Image Gently initiative, whose goal is to change practice by promoting radiation protection in the imaging of children, includes projection x-ray as well. A promising new approach the emergence of quantitative imaging, for instance, measurement from imagery of the extent of COPD. Such techniques offer the potential for improving the staging of disease, which, in turn, can help physicians in making treatment decisions and in communicating prognoses to patients.

Q: What’s happening in the world of R&D at Carestream?  What projects will you be discussing at UKRC? 

We have a number of exciting projects, including an ongoing project on cone beam CT for volumetric imaging of extremities. The system design is unique in that it has the capability to obtain isotropic high-resolution 3D images of weight-bearing knees and ankles, which is a procedure that is currently unable to be performed with standard diagnostic CT systems. This is a collaborative project with Johns Hopkins University Hospital. A clinical system is currently installed at the hospital, and patients are being imaged under a study protocol. In addition, there are a number of other novel advanced 3D and spectral imaging technologies we are investigating in that have potential applications for improved imaging in the ICU, ED, and orthopaedics, and in areas outside the hospital such as in veterinary medicine.

Attending UKRC? Come see us in stand 99