Taking Control of your Medical Imaging Data
Is your organization struggling to get control of its imaging information during this time of healthcare delivery transformation? You are not alone.
By Sandra Lillie – Founder, Meade Advisory
How many times have we heard that hospitals are in transition from procedure-centric healthcare to patient-centered health delivery? Daily, do you say?
The shift to value and focus on outcomes demands greater reliance on patient-centered information across care settings and time versus procedure-based information across events. For organizations to adapt, they need good visibility to the breadth of clinical content associated with their patients as individuals and as populations.
Strategic reasons to get control of your organization’s imaging systems and content:
- Some of the richest content resides in a hospital’s imaging and specialty departments, whether radiology, cardiology, orthopedics, dermatology or surgical imaging. The list is long and the content is often held in proprietary system silos.
- Enterprise image and content management is a priority for many healthcare delivery organizations (HDOs) as they work to make patient information more interoperable, liquid and available to physicians and enterprise systems, like the EHR.
- Unlocking silos of rich clinical information, both discrete and unstructured, into an accessible foundation enables easier, more efficient consumption for a multitude of purposes.
With enterprise imaging, the medical imaging informatics community is maturing and evolving its definition of the set of capabilities to capture, index, manage, store and provide access to exchange, as well as provide business analytics for, all clinical imaging content across the healthcare enterprise.
You CAN get greater control over your medical imaging information. How do we approach unlocking this clinically-rich content and gain control for our organizations?
Enterprise imaging, or de-coupling PACS, unlocks your organization from proprietary imaging solutions or PACS. This is not only technically feasible but cost-effective today where it would have been viewed as emerging just five years ago. In fact, it is far costlier to fail to gain increasingly independent control of your imaging data.
Steps to gaining control:
→ Step one: Inventory imaging and specialty department imaging content and solutions. Identify your timelines for refreshing imaging information technology (i.e., PACS) currently in place.
→ Step two: Identify important imaging management, view and workflow tools your clinicians utilize today.
→ Step three: Assess your options in the market to get independence and control at each layer of enterprise imaging:
- Image visualization (enterprise image viewer)
- Image workflow/worklist capabilities
- Image storage and management (vendor neutral archive)
Questions to ask your organization and your vendors:
- What are the benefits to implement some or all of enterprise imaging (de-coupled PACS) during an imaging solution or PACS replacement?
- What is your organization’s expectation for technology providers as you work to bring “disconnected” patient content together for better results and cost savings?
- What are the key considerations and roadblocks to achieving an IT architecture to support control of your organization’s image data?
- What analytics, reports and visualization technology are needed most at this time to speed insight and operational effectiveness?
What does it mean to your personnel?
As with any enterprise strategy, the commitment to take control of your medical imaging data requires strong governance and operating controls. Skillfully moving the organization forward to information independence from the Vendor Lock of proprietary PACS rewards the adaptive innovators willing to advance their organization.
Organizations recruit Enterprise Imaging Directors and staff charged with the responsibility to break down image silos to make this important clinical information more fluid across the organization’s stakeholders.
Directors of Enterprise Imaging must have a demonstrated knowledge of the clinical imaging content produced in specialty departments outside of radiology and cardiology; and productive strategies to manage them toward access across the organization in a patient-centric manner. Leaders in enterprise imaging need to be experienced in the imaging technologies currently implemented and informed on the innovations taking place in the market; with a focus on interoperability, image management strategies,
breath of visualization technologies, and workflow solutions that can be adeptly applied to their organization; and with an exceptional level of communication and organizational skills to achieve results.
Sandra Lillie is a client and former candidate of Skinner & Associates. Sandra is the founder of Mead Advisory services providing advanced strategy, and consulting expertise, to enable clients to leverage their organization to improve market alignment, collaboration, support and better results.