by John W. Mitchell
, Senior Correspondent | April 24, 2015
From the April 2015 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
“We have 600 IT employees in our system with 18,000 computers, 8,000 of which run a virtual dedicated system. As we move forward, we have to think about not just how to store all of these millions and millions of bits of patient records today, but how we are going to ensure the systems integrate in the future. And we’re doing all this while we constantly bring new hospitals and clinics online,” says UnityPoint Health’s Bishop.
He says UnityPoint maintains their own cloud-based server system to store this data rather than outsource it to a third party vendor. This makes it easier for the medical staff to access their patients’ medical information, including radiology images, from their homes, offices and even mobile devices.
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To this end, Dreyer reports that a focus in his work with the ACR is to set standards for vendors envisioned by radiologists, rather than the vendor setting standards to which the radiologists must adapt. Such proprietary specifications in vendor products have historically caused nightmares when integrating different information system applications across the patient care network.
Patients also increasingly expect imaging informatics and electronic medical records to make their lives easier. Chris Shepperson, director of Clinical Operations for Ivy Ventures, and a former hospital PACS administrator, notes that patients expect ease-of appointment scheduling and pricing information through mobile devices.
“Technology affects the bottom line. And it’s not just who’s got the best technology, such as MERR (Multimedia Enhanced Radiology Reporter), which includes user-friendly hyperlinks and plotting automation. It’s also about what patients want,” says Shepperson. “Patients are technology savvy and hospitals and clinics have to meet that need. We’re seeing our clients start to introduce these kinds of low cost patient amenities to work across the EMR.”
Dennison echoes this sentiment. “I have a friend in California who will only go to a specific health care provider. He knows no matter what hospitals or doctor he goes to in the system, they will always be able to pull up his prior images and medical records,” he says. Dennison terms such market-based technology developments as enterprise solutions.
“Where the EMR and PACS intersect, hospitals have to ask themselves what is the long-term value of the imaging record and how do they best integrate that need to the medical record,” says Dennison. “And more and more it’s about accessing relevant patient information, including images, through a secure web page providing much more extensive information from the EMR, not a dedicated workstation or server driven by proprietary software.”