Healthcare Providers Focus on Ways to Achieve Smart Enterprise Image and Data Management

As HIMSS14 approaches next week, we are sharing a pre-show guest blog series from health IT industry experts on trends you can expect to hear about at the event. Below is a guest contribution from Cristine Kao, Carestream’s Global Marketing Director for Healthcare Information Solutions.

Developing and implementing an enterprise data management strategy that includes the ability to archive, manage and access images and data is essential for healthcare providers of all sizes. Its benefits include enhanced quality of care and a patient-centric workflow—along with cost savings created by consolidated data storage and streamlined distribution.

The mushrooming amount of clinical data generated during the course of patient care is both a blessing and a curse. Imaging exams, laboratory results, specialized cardiology and oncology studies and other procedures all provide vital information that can enhance diagnosis and treatment. The challenge is managing the hundreds of millions of medical imaging procedures produced in the U.S. every year.    

Enabling access to patient data when and where it’s needed remains a fundamental hurdle for healthcare IT professionals. A recent study shows that more than half of clinical data are archived in proprietary systems and are not part of the overall patient record.

It’s not feasible to eliminate all departmental systems—but it is possible to tap into this data by establishing a vendor-neutral archive and a zero footprint viewer that: 1) Allows healthcare IT staffs to streamline the management of clinical data and 2) Enables rapid, secure access to patient imaging data by authorized users, including patients themselves.  

Delivering more efficient data management through consolidated archiving can reduce operational costs. It also can enhance physicians’ ability to obtain a more holistic view of each patient, which can enhance patient care.

New archiving and image viewer solutions can be delivered through an on-site implementation or as a cloud service.

The exponential growth in data and the need to share it across multiple users and locations is making the cloud a much more attractive option for many healthcare providers. The cloud’s strategic importance to business leaders is expected to double and global healthcare cloud services providers have proven they can provide efficient, secure data archiving and data sharing among authorized physician users.

A new development is that patients also want to share images and data electronically with physicians and family members. A recent study of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted by IDR Medical, an international healthcare marketing company, found that 79 percent of patients would be more likely to return to a facility that offers an online imaging portal. 

The industry’s growing focus on patient satisfaction is illustrated by the fact that 30 percent of CMS financial incentives are based on this measure. The need for a patient portal is further strengthened by Meaningful Use Stage 2 rules in which CMS requires that at least 10 percent of imaging results must be accessible through certified EHR/EMR technology.

Carestream offers an advanced vendor-neutral archiving platform as well as a fully featured physician viewer and patient portal. The latest release runs on the 64-bit architecture (a works in progress) which will deliver significant improvements in computing performance, security, availability and virtualization. The zero footprint physician viewer can be embedded into a EMR portal, which also supports secure access from mobile devices such as a tablet which complements Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategy. These capabilities are available as on-site deployment or as cloud services. Carestream Health placed in the top three of the world’s largest suppliers of vendor-neutral archiving (VNA) solutions in a 2013 report by IHS, a marketing research and consulting service. The company’s cloud services manage more than 80 million imaging studies in 10 data centers worldwide.

What questions do you have?