Health IT made great strides forward in 2016, providing the critical infrastructure to support interoperability and cross-communication. True enterprise imaging — the availability of images beyond traditional departments, across and between health systems — is closer now than ever before.
There are still obstacles to overcome, however. Some are the natural growing pains that come with any major change. Some challenges arise directly from solving another problem. For example, greater interoperability leads to more security vulnerability. These challenges and many more will continue to drive innovation in health IT and enterprise imaging in 2017 and beyond.
The following five articles sum up some of the problems and possibilities facing health systems now and in the immediate future.
Emerging Trends and the Future of Health IT
One role enterprise imaging can play in the switch to value-based care is enhancing the ability to analyze the health of a population. Kathryn Pearson Payton, MD, is leading an initiative to convince women and health providers of the benefits of storing mammography imaging data in the cloud. “If we can stimulate the IT world to play well together, we can make a huge difference in population health,” Payton says.
For Payton, the move to cloud-based storage is about more than integrating systems. Rather, it could have a real and measurable positive impact on patient outcomes.
Federal, state and local laws can be a major obstacle to the free flow of medical data across health systems, particularly across state lines. This month, the National Governors Association released a set of recommendations for states to improve interoperability.
The report contains input from state health policy officials, health IT organizations, vendors and providers. You can read a summary of the report’s findings at the link above, or see the full report at the NGA website.
Radiology is perhaps the department most affected by the sweeping changes in the health care industry. Traditional imaging departments are at the nexus of enterprise imaging and value-based care initiatives, responsible for creating new workflows for sharing and proving their value.
This article takes an in-depth look at the challenges and potential solutions, including input from many experts in both health IT and radiology.
Enterprise imaging and value-based care are linked at the most basic level. Enterprise imaging enables collaborative care, which in turn can lead to a more holistic view of care and a more value-based approach.
PerfectServe CEO Terry Edwards explores how value-based care and bundled payments require a more collaborative model, and the tools health systems need to achieve that goal.
Interoperability and more open communication does come at a cost: The risk of online attacks that compromise privacy and can hold entire health systems for ransom. As more internet-enabled devices — from smartphones to smart pacemakers — enter the health care sphere, the risks will multiply exponentially.
Health law attorney Marla Durben Hirsch summarizes the types of attacks that disrupted health care in 2016, identifies the vulnerabilities they exploited, and offers solutions in this article.
The health care industry is on a journey to a more holistic, more open, more patient-centered model of care. We passed many significant milestones in 2016, but the journey is ongoing. If health systems continue the push for secure interoperability, more communication, and more collaboration, true enterprise imaging is within our reach.
To learn more about the pillars that support enterprise imaging, download Beyond Imaging: Key Components for a Holistic Enterprise Imaging Strategy.