As clinicians diagnose and treat their patients – from those critically ill, to the simplest of fractures – it is increasingly evident how important the role of medical imaging is to ensure quality patient care.
Estimates show that diagnostic imaging accounts for 10% ($100 billion) of our total annual health care costs. As an example, the Centers for Disease Control reports that more than 1.6 million people are newly diagnosed with cancer each year. The extent of medical imaging that is required to properly diagnose and treat those patients effectively demonstrates how important it is for clinical teams to properly and efficiently manage medical images to drive high quality patient care.
The journey of a patient’s imaging adventure can be long and winding:
- Patients often have imaging ordered, by a primary care provider for x-ray, CT, or MR as part of an early evaluation at a local imaging center.
- Those images are put on CD and sent to the Primary Care Provider, who then refers the patient to a local medical center for specialty consultation.
- The CDs are then provided to the local medical center and uploaded into their PACS.
- The patient may also want to have a second opinion which means those images are also requested again, put on CD, delivered to the second opinion provider, and loaded into their PACS.
- The patient may want to participate in a clinical trial, where images need to be delivered prior to participation and a similar process takes place.
All of this image movement is quite challenging and extremely time consuming for the patient and the treating entities.
Many health systems rely on patients to gather their own past medical imaging and deliver them to the new provider. Those that do not want to burden patients and their caregivers with the arduous task are left to figure out the most effective process to request, accept, and provide access to these images at the point of care. A number of facilities will participate in an image share with cloud application providers, but there are many challenges –from the quality of images, to MRN matching, missing images, etc.
Streamlining the process and leveraging technology to create faster access to images for clinical teams can drive not only staff and provider satisfaction, but ensure that a patient’s appointment is as productive as possible. Which is where the technology-enabled services offered by eHealth Technologies for image management include:
- Requesting/acquiring needed images
- Quality Assurance Validation to ensure what was requested is being delivered
- MRN matching to the requesting facility
- Seamless delivery of images directly into the client’s imaging infrastructure, including Radiology, Cardiology, and Research PACS, along with the Electronic Medical Record.
Below are the top reasons we’ve found that our clients benefit from partnering with eHealth Technologies to implement a CD elimination/medical image integration strategy for their facility.
- Eliminate time load on already challenged staff. Today, your facilities need to request, receive, and then upload CDs into their internal system, or courier them to the image library. In most cases they then have to upload them to or download them from the cloud and match the MRN. This process – which is very common – adds significant time and costs.
- Faster access to images for the clinical team. Files are QA’d and the images are pushed directly through the facility’s Outside Image Front Door . Not only have several steps been eliminated from the internal process, but multiple members of the clinical team can immediately access the information simultaneously, which expedites record review for patients.
- Reliable quality control. Through our quality assurance process, eHealth Technologies ensures that all requested images are checked for quality and missing images are automatically requested and associated with a Medical Record Number from the requesting facility.
As you kick off the new year, it’s a good time to take a step back and reevaluate your internal processes related to medical imaging management. Utilizing the latest technology designed to achieve time and cost savings could yield valuable results for your patients, staff, and overall facility.