Regardless of whether you’re working at a single facility or a multi-hospital health system, one thing holds true: multiple departments need to access images stored in a multitude of systems.
It is not only the necessity of medical image sharing that is growing but also the importance of collaborating in an effective way that will continue to make a difference in the foreseeable future as healthcare moves further into value-based care and hospitals continue to merge and acquire other types of clinical facilities.
One solution is a universal medical image viewer that allows an unlimited number of users to securely access the diagnostic-grade images they seek, regardless of whether those images are on another floor, in another building, in another hospital, in a PACS or RIS from another vendor, in a cardiology imaging system, or in a vendor neutral archive.
Let’s look at three scenarios that demonstrate how a universal medical image viewer can help streamline and improve provider workflow.
Organization-wide patient data access facilitates diagnosis
John Smith arrives for a CT exam at Yellow Hospital, part of the Color Healthcare System. After the exam image is sent to Yellow Hospital’s PACS, the examining radiologist checks to see if Mr. Smith has undergone any prior exams.
It turns out that Mr. Smith’s prior exam was done at Blue Hospital (also part of the Color Healthcare System) and stored in its PACS, which is from a different vendor than Yellow Hospital’s PACS. Thanks to the universal viewer, the radiologist can quickly find and view Mr. Smith’s previous images, rather than delaying diagnosis pending receipt of an image CD from Blue Hospital.
Collaborative tools to help streamline workflow and expedite procedures
Anna Jones is seen by an ED physician at Yellow Hospital, who orders a CT exam to aid diagnosis. The CT is performed at Yellow Hospital and sent to the hospital’s PACS, but not until 2:00 a.m., after the hospital’s radiologist has gone off duty.
Rather than wait for the next shift, a radiologist at Blue Hospital opens the study using Color Healthcare System’s universal medical image viewer. After reviewing the study, while the patient is still in the CT exam room, the Blue Hospital radiologist begins a collaboration session with the CT technologist. Over video conference with the first images available to both, they discuss how the next scan should be performed.
Note that it would be possible for Blue Hospital to become a centralized resource for all of Color Healthcare System’s medical image sharing and reporting, rather than just Yellow Hospital during certain hours. It would also be possible for a physician outside Color Healthcare System to view Mrs. Jones’ images using the universal viewer and a Web browser, should a special consult be required.
Fast installation and multi-’ology capabilities to help ease collaboration
Bruce Miller arrives by ambulance at Green Hospital with chest pains and is examined and treated by an ED physician. From the patient’s spouse, the physician learns that Mr. Miller was previously treated at Blue Hospital for a similar episode.
Green Hospital was recently acquired by Color Healthcare System, and its EHR system has not yet been integrated with the other hospitals in the system. However, the universal medical image viewer, with its multi-’ology capabilities has been implemented (a one- to two-hour task). This allows the ED physician to search for the patient across the entire healthcare system, easily locating an echo cardiogram performed at Blue Hospital and reviewing it before completing Mr. Miller’s treatment plan.