Doctors can view diagnostic images faster and easier using eHealth Connect® Image Exchange. With a single click, authorized HIE users can view, collaborate, compare, and import studies of interest from all connected imaging locations in the Rochester and Finger Lakes region.
Rochester RHIO (Regional Health Information Organization)recognized the importance of including image sharing as an integral part of its Health Information Exchange (HIE), which provides approximately 7,000 area physicians at more than 400 practices with patient information in the greater Finger Lakes and Southern Tier regions in New York. This includes hospitals, imaging providers, reference labs, skilled nursing facilities, and radiology practices—serving more than 1.4 million residents.
“Electronically accessing a patient’s medical images once required health care professionals to log into multiple, unconnected databases known as picture archiving and communication systems (PACS),” said Jill Eisenstein, CEO & President of Rochester RHIO. “It was also commonplace for clinicians and patients to transport and ship images stored on CDs, DVDs, and films between locations, as well as manually transmit DICOM studies. This was inefficient and time consuming. eHealth Technologies has changed record delivery so patients and staff no longer experience this cumbersome process. We’ve been thrilled to partner with them.”
Image access is essential
A more reliable and cost-effective means to access diagnostic-quality medical images was essential. The goals were to improve the timeliness of patient care, reduce wasted healthcare dollars, avoid unnecessary exposure to radiation from redundant exams, and eliminate the costs of inefficient image distribution and
It was also essential that the Rochester RHIO be able to integrate technology directly into its existing HIE core framework, expand imaging types and sources, and further leverage the network by seamlessly connecting the disparate PACS at various radiology and imaging centers.
In 2008, Rochester RHIO teamed up with their HIE providers and eHealth Technologies™ to implement eHealth Connect® Image Exchange providing users with near instantaneous access to recent and prior imaging exams, in full diagnostic quality, from any Internet-connected computer. Within a few months, Rochester RHIO was “live” in six radiology centers. Today, Rochester RHIO carries images from 33 licensed radiology centers.
Authorized users within the HIE can access all images from anywhere they are delivering care, including X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and ultrasounds. With a single click from within the context of the patient record, the image is displayed with a zero footprint viewer that lets physicians analyze details and make side-by-side comparisons, similar to the PACS software usedby radiology professionals.
“Rapid and reliable access to images are vital in many cases to care quality, and eHealth Connect Image Exchange has helped improve that experience,” explained Eisenstein. “Specialists, primary care doctors, staff and other care givers can view a variety of images and radiology reports in a matter of seconds.”
Radiologists and other clinicians frequently have access to relevant external prior imaging studies on their local PACS in order to properly diagnose and treat more complex medical conditions. eHealth Connect Image Exchange accomplishes this PACS transfer with a few clicks directly from the Rochester RHIO clinical portal, and ensures that key image attributes in the DICOM header, such as patient ID (MRN) and accession number, are automatically updated prior to transferring images.
“Rapid and reliable access to images is vital in many cases to care quality, and eHealth Connect Image Exchange has helped improve that experience.” Jill Eisenstein, CEO & President, Rochester RHIO
More than 175,000 imaging studies are added to Rochester RHIO every month, including those from hospitals and major imaging providers. Implementing this service has helped the Rochester RHIO reduce healthcare costs and improve patient safety by eliminating unnecessary duplicate imaging procedures, while decreasing the risk of medical errors due to incomplete patient records.
“eHealth Connect Image Exchange gives me easy and relatively rapid access to images critical to patient care,” says Adam Zinkin, MD, Chairman, Diagnostic Imaging, Radiology, Rochester Regional Health. “It really does reduce the amount of radiation patients are exposed to. I remember a time when patients used to carry their films or CDs with them to other doctor offices, or they would have repeat X-rays upon arrival. With eHealth Connect, patients don’t need to do that anymore.”