It’s virtually impossible to deliver the best outcome to every patient in every care setting without a high level of IT integration. But that level was something of a stretch goal for the team at UnityPoint Health, given that the 30-hospital network stretches across large swaths of Iowa and Illinois.
As leaders at UnityPoint looked to solve their care coordination problems, they quickly realized the need for a centralized architecture to manage medical imaging. They put together a cross-functional team to create an RFP detailing their goal of standardizing and integrating their medical imaging IT platforms.
The last thing an organization looking to consolidate patient images and streamline image sharing needs is a vendor neutral archive that’s not truly vendor neutral. So, how can you quickly sift through the hype to determine whether a product is a gussied-up PACS or a true VNA?
It’s actually not as hard as it seems. PACS are optimized for data injection—i.e., absorbing images from multiple modalities into the system so they can be diagnosed by radiologists and other imaging specialists. Vendor neutral archives, in contrast, must be optimized for outbound communication so that thousands of referring specialists in the community can access patient images. Any product you’re evaluating that doesn’t simplify workflow for all users (not just within or between departments) and enable image data sharing between disparate healthcare systems is not a true vendor neutral archive.
When it comes to organizational change, whether to value-based models of care, implementing Imaging 3.0 initiatives or following Meaningful Use Stage 2 objectives, CEOs and radiology leaders might feel as though the majority of their staff resists.
“What tends to happen when we get complicated, complex change, and we’ve got some moving parts, is that people don’t know … what their work is going to look like,” says Daniel Lock, a consultant about organizational change, in an online interview. “All this ambiguity and uncertainty causes people to resist and it’s one of the major reasons people resist.”
As healthcare organizations develop strategies to engage with patients, a number of challenges arise —especially when it comes to communicating with elderly patients. Almost 25 percent of elderly patients live in rural areas, more distant from healthcare facilities. They’re more likely to have chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis. Communications strategies for the elderly may require special consideration and multifaceted tactics, even for digital platforms.
Patient records contain extremely private information, from diagnoses to bank account numbers, and that data is consistently under attack. The Ponemon Institute estimates that during the last year, 40 percent of healthcare organizations faced some type of criminal data attack. In the past five years, more than 29 million patient records have been compromised. Healthcare CIOs who are responsible for overseeing their organization’s IT operations will have to answer for any security breaches.