IT Matters – Image access strategies

March 25, 2016
From the March 2016 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Change management: getting adoption
If the integration within the EMR is effective, the presentation and navigation of the image data is good, and the speed of display is acceptable, users will typically accept the enterprise viewer without much effort. As users are dispersed throughout the enterprise (and beyond), traditional classroom training is typically not practical. Online training, such as videos and FAQs, are normally sufficient. Tracking study access by user type and facility can help identify where further engagement can lead to increased adoption.

Access from outside the Enterprise
Even with a shared PACS archive or VNA across the consolidated enterprise, images will need to be accessed by authorized users outside of the enterprise. Effective methods for providing viewing (such as an enterprise viewer in a referring physician or personal health record portal) and exchanging images (for instance, through an image-enabled health information exchange or cloud-based service) are also an important part of a complete plan.

Providing direct enterprise viewer access (outside the EMR)
Most enterprise viewers provide an optional interface to allow users to log in directly to the application and then search for a patient or study before viewing the images. Some provider organizations limit access to the enterprise viewer from within the EMR and similar portals. This allows the EMR to apply data access controls, preventing the user from searching through image records. Often, it also helps increase use of, and satisfaction with, the EMR, if the diagnostic and clinical images are made available along with the patient’s clinical data. If direct access is desired, user authentication via lightweight directory access protocol (LDAP) is often sought, and features related to searching and filtering of imaging records also need to be considered.

About the author: Don Dennison has worked in the medical imaging informatics industry for over 14 years. Currently serving as a consultant, he is a speaker and panelist on topics ranging from medical imaging record interoperability, integration of imaging data within the EMR, multi-facility integration and others. He has published articles and eBooks on patient identity management, VNAs, PACS, and enterprise viewers.

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