Medical Imaging Blog

Expert Chat Sneak Peak With Cindy Bacon – Part I

Cindy Bacon – McKesson Enterprise Medical Imaging Expert

Join Cindy Bacon, McKesson senior sales executive and healthcare industry veteran, to explore ways to reduce enterprise medical imaging expenses and increase data consolidation and interoperability capabilities. At HIMSS this year, Cindy will discuss your specific challenges for approximately 30 minutes during her “Expert Chat” session in the McKesson Booths in Hall A, numbers 1365 and 1665. Below we share a portion of her expertise.

With the pressures of healthcare reform, population health, and value-based care, compounded by the rising consolidation of health systems, what solution(s) does McKesson have to help facilities attain anywhere, anytime access to data through strong interoperability?   

While it is true that health reform has raised the bar on the strategic importance of healthcare information technology, other factors cannot be ignored; such as the impact of Big Data and the subsequent crippling storage burden and the system scalability needed to support enterprise accessibility.

It’s not surprising when I speak with representatives from large organizations that they are managing a petabyte of data, or are on the cusp of it, and that they are looking to gain a complete understanding of the landscape; how much data is available and where is it needed.  Senior managers and C-level executives want to know how this is being managed, what it will cost, how will the EHR access it as they prepare for meaningful use and at what point we will start to balance diagnostic information with images.

McKesson’s neutral archive, or enterprise imaging repository, provides a common archive that supports efforts to reduce the escalating, image management-related expenditures, including hardware and operating costs, through system consolidation, while also supporting image data sharing between disparate healthcare enterprises or systems, where such sharing is permitted. McKesson Enterprise Image Repository™ simplifies enterprise-wide access to image information with a single point of distribution for image data.

Using a standards-based approach, McKesson Enterprise Image Repository brings together all the scattered images and related clinical documents from numerous isolated systems (whether in the same facility, within the enterprise, or across the region) and provides a single view  of the patient’s imaging history, accessible from anywhere across your enterprise. And with the scalability of our solution, we have the capability to grow with your organization, allowing each patient record to be as deep and rich in data as your retention requirements mandate.

With the buzz that cloud services are creating around healthcare IT, where do you see the strengths and weaknesses with respect to cloud-based storage for PACS?

It is important that healthcare providers don’t get lost in the chatter of cloud storage, which seems to be upsetting the market but is clearly a strategy that is gaining some momentum. And there is a reason for that. Before the digital age, we used to put our data in filing cabinets. Now we need more options. The enterprise drives where data is stored. Large organizations continue to manage their own data centers. What about everybody else? Many are opting to outsource storage to a cloud provider to lower operating cost and capital cost. We have public cloud, private cloud or a blending of the two. Organizations using the hybrid cloud keep a primary copy of the data in the enterprise-owned data center and archive a second copy to the service provider. With every unproven technology, however, there are benefits and challenges to consider.

The benefits of storing data in the cloud include:

  • Security when pumping data outside of the four walls of the enterprise
  • Fast and easy access to data with resiliency and redundancy
  • Data ownership to ensure control

The challenges of storing data in the cloud during this early stage of its existence include:

  • What, if any, are the established SLAs when relying on cloud storage companies for accessing your mission-critical patient records?
  • Are there agreed-upon penalties and restitution measures for not meeting all SLAs?
  • For vendors that lack the credibility, financial stability, or viability to remain in business for the long term, how will you get all your data back if and when the vendor’s business dissolves? Who really owns the data?

Want to learn more? Plan to speak with Cindy during HIMSS.14 “Expert Chats.” Register here.

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