Interview: Medical Imaging Technology Benefits Healthcare System


OSF Healthcare SystemTodd Holling, manager of enterprise imaging systems and applications at OSF Healthcare was recently interviewed by Future Healthcare on how IT investments–particularly medical imaging technology—have affected its 3.6 million patient community.

The healthcare system, serving the central Illinois region and parts of Michigan, is one of the nation’s most technologically advanced. OSF incorporated the McKesson Horizon Medical Imaging™ Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) in 2006 and added a PACS for cardiology two years later. Today, the medical imaging technology systems are helping OSF provide for 700,000 patient visits and 650,000 radiology exams per year.

Holling shares with Future Healthcare how IT and medical imaging technology is helping the healthcare system remain successful during difficult economic times. He also discusses the issues solved by OSF’s investment in IT. Registered members can access the full article on the Future Healthcare website, or listen to an extended interview with Holling on the site.

Below is an excerpt from the interview from the Future Healthcare article:

What were the problems you were trying to solve with IT?

Our mission is serving others with the greatest care and love; so our first focus truly is patient care and providing our patient base with the greatest care, love and ultimately service that we can provide. Our strategy is we try to use technology and IT to try to help fulfill this mission.

Some of the problems we’re seeing which are not unique to us are turnaround times, responsiveness and having an integrated system. We felt that we wanted to, at least in the imaging space, try to have a centralized database where we can have centralized support, structure and streamline policies procedures and also the technology out to our facilities. When we were analyzing that, our main focus was we wanted a vendor that provided that solution.

What do you consider the keys to OSF’s continued success, even in these difficult economic times?

Because we put the patient first, our focus for success centralizes around integrating our solution across the enterprise. It is scalable and has faster integration that we can look at when doing acquisitions and mergers. We wanted a solution that would be easily used by our physicians, wasn’t difficult in training so that our staff could have simplified training across an enterprise and we could have strong support and our corporate governance and policies could help support that. We utilize that to the best of our ability to really put an investment in IT, and ultimately we have easier upgrades, maintenance, support and service.

Why did you choose a single vendor strategy?

Dealing with multiple vendors obviously complicates the matter, especially in the area of PACS and CPACS for radiology and cardiology. We wanted them to be integrated so that when a radiologist logged on to their workstation they would be able to access images to CPACS and we also wanted to have a similar technical environment, a support team and a structure in which that occurs. We also were contracting and quoting, and working with McKesson, making it almost seamless. When I need something I can literally pick up the phone and, the same day, I can get someone immediately and they know all of the issues we have, and we don’t have to communicate that across to a different vendor. It is all under one umbrella, which makes it easier as a manager and director. My staff is dealing with the same support team and it simplifies the process to where we don’t have to worry. We wanted to negate anything that could possibly be a hindrance and having the single vendor solution across both departments was important to us and has been a key to our success.

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