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Enterprise imaging and consolidation may increase interoperability

As healthcare IT moves toward connecting more facilities and providers, there is a greater need for enterprise imaging. Many eligible medical facilities and practitioners are currently working toward achieving the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' criteria for meaningful use to improve care and reduce costs. In order to do this, some are adopting a vendor neutral archive (VNA) or consolidating multiple picture-archiving and communication systems (PACS).

KLAS researchers interviewed healthcare providers and found that 27 percent of participants believe that a VNA would be fundamental to their enterprise imaging strategy. The greatest advantage of such a system is that not only is it interoperable, but it can also manage, store and share clinical images and related content regardless of vendor and digital format.

While VNAs are a viable contender to improving a medical facility's interoperability of everyday workflow, Dignity Health system is in the midst of connecting 30 imaging care centers and cutting its five PACS providers down to one, as reported by Healthcare Informatics. Currently, the health organization has an integrated system, in which some facilities store clinical images for up to 2 years and then back them up in an image repository. Working off of one central PACS will not only help with consistency and standardization, but may also cut down on expenses.

"Our stair step has been creating that network so that our facilities could leverage remote systems, and having that standard base," Deanna Wise, the chief information officer of Dignity Health, told the news source. "The next step will be validating how do we put a consistent enterprise in place and what’s the true ROI."

In addition, the health organization is working toward the viewing capability of multiple formats, including non-DICOM, oncology and digital pathology. This will further enhance the use of electronic medical records and enable doctors in different departments to access more universal patient information.

News brought to you by TeraMedica, Inc., leaders in healthcare enterprise imaging (VNA) solutions.