4 Considerations When Choosing the Right Enterprise Medical Imaging Solution

2014-09-02
 

What to Consider When Choosing Medical Imaging Solutions.

Leaders of healthcare organizations are continually being challenged to do more with less while proving that improved efficiency and better patient health stem from their decisions. At McKesson, we work closely with healthcare executives and hear about the challenges they face. This allows us to create enterprise medical imaging solutions that can help them address their healthcare systems’ needs.

Whether healthcare systems have outdated PACS that operate in silos, need strategies to maximize their EHR investment or are trying to improve staff efficiency, most decision makers face overlapping issues. The most common considerations when choosing a new enterprise medical imaging system include return on investment (ROI), performance, patient care and balancing quality and cost.

ROI. When an organization invests in a new medical imaging solution, ROI includes both financial and non-financial benefits. There are a few different questions that healthcare leaders can ask themselves while assessing which solution is best for their facility, from long-term financial impacts to improving patient health.

Will This System Improve My Employees’ Workflow? Think about the process that practitioners go through looking for data. If they can’t find what they need, they may end up making phone calls, walking down the hallway to speak to a colleague, or delegating that task to a coworker. If you compute that cost per minute, hour and day, it quickly becomes significant. Helping staff members work more efficiently will help save time and money, and help improve organizations’ ROI.

“Are we going to change the number of people that we need, or free up other people?” asks Tom Coppa, McKesson Technology Solutions technical consultant. A system that lengthens workflow may require more team members. On the other hand, improved efficiency may free up employees’ time to work on other projects.

Will Patients See Faster Results? A new medical imaging solution will bring relevant data to physicians faster and more efficiently than old, outdated systems and help reduce the time between presenting the patient and the actual diagnosis. As Coppa points out, the sooner the diagnosis, the sooner a patient’s care and healing can begin.

Will Value Be Derived From This Data? A health system’s information can be transformed from a stored, stagnant resource to one that provides actionable insight. For example, management could take data regarding trends of care for certain medical conditions and analyze it from a big data perspective. They can extract value by looking at trends and making predictions about future needs at their facility, such as equipment that’s being under- or over-used, or which medical devices are resulting in the best patient outcomes.

Another way that data provides value is when an accountable care organization (ACO) is outlining a patient’s illness prevention plan, when the medical team is determining, as Coppa points out, “How do we effectively use the limited dollars that we’ve been given, not just to resolve a single health issue, but to bring this patient to where she is as healthy as she can be?” Insightful data gives them better insight into making the best use of resources, supporting an organization’s ROI.

Performance. When a hospital or health care system invests in a new or updated medical imaging solution, decision makers should ascertain three specific matters related to performance:

  1. Examples of proven success. Case studies can provide management with insight into how the solution being considered has been implemented elsewhere. Management may want specific examples of how an organization of the same size or one facing similar challenges saw real-world results.
  2. Details about how users will benefit. Management will need to see what integration with their system’s EMR will look like. How is information presented to users? How fluid is the data? Can you quickly navigate through patients’ records and activities?
  3. Timelines on how long implementation will take. Management should ask how long transitions to the new imaging system will take and when they’ll start seeing results. Timelines should include specific steps that may be necessary prior to data migration, such as conducting a proper inventory. A firm date should be set where an organization will realize the full value of their investment.

Balance. Every hospital and healthcare system has its own unique challenges, but overall the goal is balance. Organizations are determining how to best utilize a medical imaging solution to incorporate imaging data, discrete EMR and EHR data for both the patient and the physician.

“Healthcare organizations have been collecting information for years,” says Coppa. “But now it’s being taken one step further to: how do they reduce the resources that are required, whether it’s on a desktop, tablet, or any computing device; and lower the cost and requirements so they can deliver the best data at the highest quality for the lowest cost?” Finding that balance between cost and performance is at the crux of a healthcare executive’s decision.

Patients. “There’s a shift in the healthcare model with a stronger focus around the patient,” says Coppa. “That patient focus combined with how healthcare systems are paid pushes everyone to success.” When it comes to medical imaging solutions, the value is in making things simpler. A solution can incorporate more relevant information for a clearer decision that leads to proper care for the patient and a recovery plan that can be tracked. Medical imaging solutions offer actionable data to make better decisions and track patients long-term to support a health system’s goal of 100 percent healing.

Selecting a medical imaging system that is the right choice for a particular hospital or health system can be daunting. Considerations that help organization leaders pinpoint the right solution include ROI, performance, balance and patient benefits.

Learn more about the McKesson Enterprise Image Repository™, a vendor neutral archive independent of PACS.

 

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