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Data storage a critical issue for critical care

July 06, 2011
Lasha Dalakishvilli
From the May 2011 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
This report originally appeared in the May 2011 issue of DOTmed Business News

By Lasha Dalakishvilli

The need for data storage and exchange has emerged as one of the biggest problems facing radiology departments. Yet, nowhere is this problem more apparent than among rural health providers.

It would be an understatement to say that disaster recovery, workflow continuity solutions and HIE have been discussed at length among providers and vendors. While questions have been asked and solutions presented, the costs to implement are often excessive and far beyond the reach of the rural health care provider. Indeed, most solutions don’t match up with rural health provider requirements – they often rocket beyond them, with the resulting crippling financial cost.

But that’s a problem. Just because someone doesn’t live in a major metropolitan area doesn’t mean he should be subjected to substandard care. People moving back to a city could also have trouble: those who have had treatments at a rural facility and then have moved into a more populated area might have moved without their medical records.

Data storage and HIE are part of patient care continuity. Patient care does not just end at the hospital door or the property line. Every organization is responsible for patient care as long as it holds patient records and is responsible for sharing those records with other providers.

Rural providers should weigh the following when considering vendor proposals:

• Avoid bundled services where data storage or PACS service is provided as part of the reading service.
• Disaster recovery service should include a workflow continuity solution at no additional charge.
• Data migration and retrieval should be provided at no additional charge while under contract.
• As part of the disaster recovery and data storage solution, data should be available to the provider 24/7.

Vendors need to address these issues and offer solutions catered to providers’ specific needs. Partnerships need be formed and risks need to be assessed at all levels of these relationships.

Lasha Dalakishvilli is the chief executive officer and co-founder of OffSite Image Management Systems, Inc. Dalakishvilli co-founded OIMS to address marketplace challenges relating to PACS vendor responsiveness and the desire to provide more effective and affordable solutions in the disaster recovery market.

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