The Importance of Interoperability in Imaging

2017-06-08
 

Clinician using enterprise imaging systemHealth systems are learning about the value of interoperability, to both exchange information with providers and also to help clinicians make more informed decisions. As health organizations are considering replacement of their imaging systems, it’s important to keep this in mind. An integrated, standardized approach to image interpretation and sharing is fundamental in the shift to value-based care.

Breaking Down Silos

Radiology is the hub of imaging in a hospital, yet much of the patient data required for accurate diagnosis resides outside the department. An enterprise-wide imaging and communication strategy can connect systems where patient data has been traditionally siloed to extract the relevant and necessary patient information for display in a radiology PACS.

Positive ROI for Facilities and Patients

The ROI for an imaging system, so to speak, isn’t limited to what happens inside the healthcare enterprise. It can extend to accessing and sharing diagnostic images even with regional healthcare information organizations (RHIOs) and statewide HIEs.

It’s important to keep that broader-based goal in mind when putting an integrated imaging system in place, because images are critical to care planning that continues after the radiologist has provided a report. Unfortunately, it’s still common for providers and referring physicians to exchange images via CD and giving it to the patient to bring to an appointment with a specialist. This is error-prone, inefficient and yields a CD that might be indecipherable by the next facility’s PACS. It’s far better to have an enterprise imaging capability, where an image can be sent electronically in a standardized format in real time to the appropriate treatment site.

As health systems consider next-generation imaging systems, they are focusing on the benefits throughout their hospitals to help clinicians make better decisions and to share data more effective throughout their facilities and with other providers.

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