Innovation is at the heart of excellence in patient care, and radiology helps drive new breakthroughs. To help us look to the future of diagnostic imaging and prepare for this year’s RSNA annual meeting, we’ve asked two of our innovative leaders, Erkan Akyuz and Tomer Levy, to share their insights on industry trends and the evolution of medical imaging and patient care.
Q: What are you most looking forward to at RSNA this year?
Data management is a costly business, especially when it comes to medical imaging. Healthcare providers are challenged with managing data governance, security and disaster recovery across multiple siloed imaging systems. Often, executing and monitoring a single corporate strategy is almost impossible.
Add to that some costly data migrations, as systems go out of date, and you understand why imaging data management is considered to be one of the biggest financial and logistical headaches for healthcare providers.
How can healthcare providers protect their sanity and reduce overhead as new data technology emerges?
Healthcare organizations of all sizes and complexities must address the changing landscape of value-based care. Older, proprietary archive systems are increasingly becoming obsolete, replaced by vendor neutral systems that support each other seamlessly.
This digital integration must be supported by a similar departmental integration. Radiology departments looking to streamline their imaging processes and data with other departments and facilities can turn to vendor neutral archives (VNA) for this purpose.
Here are three ways that a VNA can streamline integration between departments, improving workflow and producing better overall care.
1. Shifting image management away from PACS
Every healthcare leader understands the immense cost of data breaches. Understandably, CIOs and security directors are increasingly concerned about data security. How can the right vendor neutral archive (VNA), allow these leaders to sleep easier at night knowing their data is secure?
Jonathan Carr, Business Development & Channel Manager at McKesson, notes that the centralized nature of a VNA provides the best opportunity for healthcare data protection.
“When you have a VNA, you basically have a centralized inventory of all your data assets in one system,” Carr said. Such an inventory can be used to help consolidate your data under a seamless encryption system.
Whether you crave immediate results from IT investments or love to get ahead of a curve, we’ve got points for consideration on integrating your organization’s cardiovascular information system (CVIS) with your vendor neutral archive (VNA).
Let’s talk about the practical side of integration, the part where you get near-instant gratification. First, if your organization has purchased a VNA, you want to leverage that investment. Connecting the CVIS to the VNA creates opportunities for more efficient storage asset management and reduction in administrative overhead. Most VNA systems today offer image management capabilities that are superior to most CVIS systems. Put simply, it doesn’t make much sense to have a central image repository and store cardiology images in a separate system.
Imaging 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.
This is an update to my earlier post discussing how the early detection of lung cancer via low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) has been shown to be effective enough in certain populations to warrant a screening program, but that coverage of such a program under Medicare was the subject of some debate.
CMS (Preliminary) Decision
The big news, of course, is that in mid-November CMS made a proposed Decision Memo indicating that Medicare would, indeed, cover lung cancer screening.
The final ruling from CMS is expected in February 2015 and could include some further refinements to the program currently outlined (more on that below).
The pressure on hospitals continues to build as CMS payments decrease, special payments like tax breaks and incentive funding expire, and utilization declines. To survive, many large hospitals have merged with smaller ones in an effort to maintain operating profits through asset consolidation. Other hospitals are expanding vertically, purchasing ambulatory care facilities, home care agencies, and free-standing dialysis clinics. Some are doing both.
In the midst of all this change, plus repeated cost-reduction directives, medical imaging executives are seeking guidance. Specifically, they’re asking: What is the role of imaging in a consolidated environment and/or one that involves care across multiple settings?
What video games were your first favorites? Were they old school—Pong, Space Invaders, Donkey Kong? Those examples are a far cry from today’s complex, realistic video games.
As games have become more sophisticated, concepts from gaming have seeped into other areas that are utilitarian, beneficial and have real-world applications. Game-inspired processes can encourage people to complete certain tasks and change behavior. The gamification trend is even entering medicine as a tool to help encourage practitioners’ best practices and processes such as peer review. How can healthcare organizations utilize the benefits of gamification to help improve radiology workflow and potentially improve patient care?
A recent article about the high rate of inappropriate imaging for patients who have headaches and are concerned about internal pathologic conditions caused a stir. The study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, found that around $1 billion each year is spent on neuroimaging for headaches, even though it’s not recommended per guidelines set by physician groups, including the American College of Radiology and the American Board of Internal Medicine. Studies like these raise a larger issue about talking to physicians about reducing unnecessary costs. Being a thorough, compassionate practitioner doesn’t have to include non-recommended testing.