The Enterprise Imaging Era: The CEO’s Path to Interoperability


Medical imaging technologyImaging technology is quickly charting a path toward interoperability for the enterprise, allowing hospitals and patients to access clinical data and images in real time. This represents a new era for medical imaging solutions, but how can hospital executives manage these new resources?

Don Dennison, president/principle, Don K. Dennison Solutions, Inc., and Director-at-large on the Board of Directors for the Society of Imaging Informatics in Medicine (SIIM), recently sought to answer this question at the McKesson Executive Leadership Summit.

Dennison first looked to identify the three trends that currently affect the imaging industry, along with three steps that hospital executives can take to achieve interoperability with their imaging solutions.

Three major imaging trends

Dennison notes that these three trends are causing large-scale disruptions in the imaging process:

  1. Payment Reform

The shift from volume-based to value-based reimbursement models is clear. With this evolution comes new advancements in the following resources:

  • Price transparency
  • Bundled payments
  • Accountable Care Organizations
  • Population-health

In addition, Dennison noted that executives can avoid new costs through the use of Clinical Decision Support (CDS) to ensure only appropriate exams are performed, as risks are being shifted from payers to providers (and patients).

  1. EMR Adoption

With increased EMR adoption, the new era is noted for the following process improvements:

  • Fewer interfaces and more consistent ADT and ORM messages
  • Improved integration of imaging records
  • Shift from departmental RIS to EMR modules
  • Increased use of EMR data at point of diagnosis
  • Addition of enterprise imaging to patient records
  1. Consolidation

Dennison argues for widespread consolidation of patient data and hospital processes as new technologies demand more streamlined organizations. Some steps to that goal include:

  • Large healthcare providers buying or affiliating with smaller hospitals, care facilities, and imaging centers
  • Consolidation of EMR, imaging records
  • Integration of patient identity domains across facilities
  • Migration, integration of data
  • Staff integration

All these factors have influenced the development of a new “Enterprise Imaging Era”, where the collection and integration of “enterprise images” is steadily increasing and interoperability is critical. How can hospital executives best understand and prepare for this new era?

Strategies for enterprise imaging interoperability

As the Enterprise Imaging Era begins, hospital executives can adopt these strategies from Dennison to achieve interoperability with their solutions.

Strategies for growth

Dennison believes that hospital executives can encourage growth by expanding their networks and consolidating several PACS into one (or the data into a VNA).

By acquiring facilities, establishing strong affiliations, and developing staff policies/procedures to incorporate imaging records from external sources, hospital executives can expand their networks without sacrificing efficiency and quality.

Strategies for efficiency

Consolidation also factors into new processes in the Enterprise Imaging Era. Dennison notes that developing an enterprise imaging capture program to consolidate all clinical/diagnostic images can lower IT costs for image access, and provide a more complete patient record within the EMR.

Dennison also encourages hospital executives to consolidate their IT infrastructure management (storage, VM farm, network, etc.) from the clinical departments to enterprise as a shared service. When patient records are enterprise assets, hospital executives and departmental leadership can focus more on the quality of their service lines.

Strategies for quality

Dennison argues that developing a complete enterprise plan can help hospital executives view, manage and acquire high-quality images for their records. This plan would encourage the development of a shared enterprise, where imaging data is consolidated into single points of integration and accessible anywhere.

In a shared enterprise plan, results, orderables, procedures, acquisitions and reading workflows would be standardized within the shared EMR. This helps to provide one solution for all imaging needs across the enterprise.

Learn more about the path to interoperability for the enterprise when you explore more diagnostic imaging trends from McKesson.

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