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Interoperability emerges as key HIMSS imaging focus for Philips and Siemens

by John W. Mitchell , Senior Correspondent
They may each call it something different, but Philips and Siemens made it clear that they are responding to clinician frustration in sharing imaging and other data across a common platform. Both companies highlighted interoperability related-solutions at the 2016 HIMSS conference in Las Vegas last week.

“We’re developing tools to make data to the electronic medical record accurate, precise, complete and timely,” Henri “Rik” Primo, director of strategic relations at Siemens, told HCB News. He said that these qualities not only affect reimbursement, workflow and medical records privacy, but also the general usefulness of the shared medical record. “A typical situation we find would be a 10-hospital system, with different imaging equipment, that doesn’t share results very well.”

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Primo cited three solutions to address interoperability:

- teamplay – a cloud-based network that allows providers to work together to operate as a single imaging team. This platform offers ready access to common dosing and usage models, no matter the geographic location where the patient receives an image.

- sense – This eHealth solution connects clinicians to a common patient-related information platform, including physician and patient portals. Patients benefit from synchronized care and standardized quality metrics.

- syngo.share – is a universal Vendor-Neutral Archive (VNA) that allows for sharing imaging data, rad studies and clinical documents both within and outside the facility.

Mark Khalil, global director of product management and enterprise imaging informatics at Philips, told HCB News that they recently announced partnership with Hitachi to develop a VNA solution to address the issue of interoperability. He was on hand at HIMSS to offer visitors a strategic overview of the VNA solution plan.

“We don’t want to disrupt the clinician when they are doing their work,” he said. “But the sheer scale of images in any facility can create accessibility and information sharing challenges. Phillips, for example, manages 135 billion images for its users. Add in new modalities, such as genomic studies, you can see how it’s not just the volume of studies, but the scale as well.”

Philips will work with Hitachi on a VNA solution to make the many millions of images the typical hospital has stored in multivendor systems in different departments rapidly available at any location. Translated: the system will work with any imaging equipment the hospital already has in place.

Khalil said that so far, VNA solutions have not fully satisfied clinical user expectations. His assertion is borne out by numerous surveys.

For example, a 2015 survey by the nonprofit eHealth Initiative of 68 Accountable Care organizations found that 80 percent of respondents identified integrating data from out-of-network providers as the biggest IT challenge. Another 2015 survey among 3,000 physicians in an athenahealth-sponsored study found that 95 percent of doctors have experienced a delay or difficulty taking care of patients because the patient’s health record was not easily accessible or shared.

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