Medical Imaging Key to Collapsing Health Information Silos


Medical Imaging Silos“Medical imaging is a cornerstone to the ability to create a fluid care continuum,” said Shawn McKenzie, healthcare consultant. Her presentation, August 13, 2012, at the 40th annual meeting of the Association for Medical Imaging Management (AHRA) highlighted how medical imaging software will lead the way toward breaking down health information silos.

Before recent health care reform, competition created silos in healthcare due to the “scarcity paradigm,” she notes. Today, technology, public sentiment and integrated care are demanding change. Tools now exist, like enterprise medical imaging that can handle large volumes of data. A high-level information exchange between provider and provider is a reality.

Data sharing throughout the enterprise is only the beginning. In order to manage the massive amounts of imaging generate, providers will have to refocus their health IT strategies. Medical imaging is no longer just tied to radiology. Hospitals now factor in cardiovascular services, pathology slides, endoscopy film, wound photos and a number of other image sources from across the enterprise.

As a result, healthcare information systems will need to consider upgrades to its RIS, PACS, network infrastructure, etc., in order to accommodate growing file size and manage these terabytes of data.

Will Meaningful Use Help Break Down Barriers?

In the “old” days, holding on to patient information or making it difficult to access and share files was the hook providers used to keep patients coming back. The hassle of making sure information traveled with the patient often had doctors acting on incomplete data, resulting in unnecessary duplication of services and, thus, rising costs.

Despite privacy concerns, consumers are driving the movement toward more accessible and shareable information. Stage 2 electronic health record (EHR) meaningful use requirements are empowering people to play a more active role in their own health. Hospitals and other healthcare providers are accelerating the ability for consumers to view, download and transmit their health information.

What have you found to be driving the collapse of health information silos in your organization? I encourage you to share your thoughts, via a comment below.

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