Imaging informatics and your enterprise imaging strategy

May 31, 2017
Health IT
From the May 2017 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Implementing an enterprise imaging strategy continues to be discussed and sometimes passionately debated with increased vigor. Defining and determining how to develop a strategy has been detailed in various journal and media articles. While reading information-rich articles and white papers is helpful, implementing a strategy is not a plug-and-play endeavor. Imaging informatics professionals newly progressing toward an enterprise imaging model should find opportunities for networking with industry leaders who can advise on determining how your organizational drivers can adjust the needed approach.

It is necessary to understand the steps toward guiding your organization as its imaging informatics expert, including identifying the current state, engaging stakeholders, establishing organizational vision, planning, quantifying value for your imaging initiatives and evaluating vendor products that can move your organization’s medical imaging to the enterprise level.

Various technical challenges exist and continue to be identified, requiring innovative methods of acquiring, managing, storing and distributing clinical multimedia in cohort with diagnostic imaging. Learning the basics of IHE profiles such as cross-enterprise document exchange (XDS) and standards like DICOMweb and FHIR can assist when working with vendors toward meeting the technical challenges. In addition to traditional DICOM imaging, advances in predictive analytics and deep learning are developing rapidly across visible light specialties such as ophthalmology and dermatology.

Health care organizations are facing an ever-growing need to address workflow, image management and image life cycle challenges presented by incorporating non-DICOM images alongside DICOM imaging. Pointof- care diagnostic imaging adds additional complexities by combining encounters-based clinical workflows as most intuitive and efficient, with the need for resulting and billing to be processed through more traditional orders-based diagnostic imaging workflows.

Software architecture and delivery methods offered by our imaging system vendors must begin to maximize the hardware technologies available. Retrofitting legacy architecture with newer delivery methods, rather than new development, can no longer suffice. Meeting the challenges of enterprise imaging requires the ability to consume image data from many potential sources and in many image, video and clinical multimedia formats. Extracting, preserving and utilizing the metadata behind non-DICOM images is essential.

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