by Lisa Chamoff
, Contributing Reporter | April 27, 2015
From the April 2015 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
There are images still stored on departmental systems, and if a physician needs access, he or she has to either go to the department to look at that system, or the information has to be printed out or stored on unencrypted portable media, which has security risks.
“We’re continuing to move toward that vision of your EHR as a single source of truth about the patient’s medical care,” Petersilge says. “We call it the comprehensive longitudinal medical records.” A critical part of this, Petersilge says, is that the system they have deployed offers a workflow engine that allows them to integrate the electronic storage of images into a variety of different workflows that are outside the traditional radiology workflows.
For example, a department that takes a photograph doesn’t necessarily place an order before they acquire the image, and would have to attach patient demographic information and the order description after the fact. “Every radiology PACS system was developed in a pre-EHR era,” says Charles Morris, Agfa’s director of enterprise imaging for North America. “Companies had to try to integrate them. It’s been a long road of trying to get those linkages.”
The fundamental problem is that imaging systems are typically purchased by the performing department and not the same team that sets up the health records system, Morris says. Radiography OEM Carestream Health is also getting into interoperability. At last year’s RSNA, Carestream launched its new Clinical Collaboration Platform, which provides physicians with a single view of patient records and information. It uses Carestream’s Vue Archive to archive and exchange clinical content in Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) and non-DICOM formats. The release came before January, when CMS announced tentative interoperability standards for 2017.
Cristine Kao, marketing manager for Global Healthcare IT at Carestream, says this technology could be useful for oncology cases, with an integrated clinical team made up of oncologists, referring physicians and radiologists being able to share images in a collaborative way. “You have to have a way to be able to facilitate a diagnosis,” Kao says. “Access to clinical content is at the core of it.”
From PACS to HER
Radiologists are no strangers to software, and though practices have had to work around Meaningful Use requirements that may not always work for them — collecting patient demographic information and smoking status, for example — the radiology market is ahead of the rest of the market when it comes to electronic health records, says Steve Deaton, vice president of software for Viztek.