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Unifi ed standards are key

By Tyler Harris, VP, clinical solutions, Novarad

One of the most challenging issues in the PACS/RIS world today is the lack of unifi ed standardization and archiving for the storage and retrieval of medical data. Providers have a lot of ineffi ciencies to contend with as they work to access the patient data that is housed in multiple and siloed sources. These sources include document scans, master patient indexes and other information repositories that exist in disparate products. Often these ineffi ciencies can be overcome by interfacing. However, developing custom interfaces costs both money and time, and as the healthcare industry continues to see reimbursements cut, the increasing pressures to deliver enhanced patient care more effi ciently will only increase. Additionally, because of the lack of standardization, even creating interfaces is not a total solution as not all of the infor- mation can be shared. What this means for providers is that, by default, they are required to use multiple solutions. With

a unifi ed standardization, this challenge can be overcome. Novarad, in partnership with Dell, offers the Unifi ed Clinical Archive (UCA), a complete cloud-based storage solution for all medical image data storage and retrieval. Standardizing all patient demographic and clini-

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cal history and making it available through a unifi ed archive eliminates wasted time and costs for provides and for patients, removes frustration and delivers an enhanced and consistent level of patient care.

PACS and RIS components should act in unison

By Jim Morgan, vice president, medical informatics, FUJIFILM Medical Systems

The traditional defi nitions for PACS and RIS no longer

proposed guidelines now include image access and sharing. IT will be essential to enable this functionality across hospi- tals, IDNs and health information exchanges. Storing all the imaging information in an EHR is not a practical proposal. As such, PACS and RIS will have to be Web-access enabled, and

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the imaging studies ideally could be archived with private, or hybrid, cloud-based technologies. This architecture will benefi t the total cost of owner- ship, because a stringent requirement in today’s healthcare paradigm is to increase quality while reducing cost. The recent popularity of cloud-based, PACS-neutral archives is an example of this concept in action. With “vendor-neutral” archiving (VNA), PACS will truly become an “enterprise” solution. Different front-end view- ing applications will be able to share the common back-end archiving cloud. Cardiology, pathology, dermatology, oph- thalmology, surgery, oncology and many other disciplines that have needs for imaging informatics applications today could be able to roll out these applications in a cost-effective way by eschewing the need to manage a department-specifi c archive.

The traditional PACS paradigm is changing. The future of PACS is here. www.healthmgttech.com

apply. Image management, diagnostic reading, image/report distribution and quality-control functions are still needed. To reach the next generation of capability, PACS and RIS must work together as a fi ne-tuned engine. Traditional and mobile platforms, referring physician portal, peer review, critical result notifi cations, business ana- lytics/reporting, communication tools, images embedded in reports and meaningful-use capability are the starting point for functionality required. Patients and referring physicians are the customers requesting relevant information (not data overload) in a timely fashion delivered on the platform of convenience (handheld, tablet, PC, etc.). Healthcare is moving beyond fi lmless and paperless. Ef- fective communication across all stakeholders via voice, chat and text is needed. Radiology departments are also being challenged to increase volume of exams, increase equipment utilization, produce more-accurate billing processes and de- crease staffi ng costs. Business analyt- ics are used to refi ne processes and allocation of resources to produce an optimum result. PACS and RIS must also have state-of-the-art platforms that utilize virtualization and enterprise-class databases. This lowers operational costs and provides superior, scalable performance.

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Having a well-run department will provide the tools and opportunity for radiologists and clinical staff to focus on the most important thing: patients.

HMT HEALTH MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY May 2012 17

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