By Scott Whyte
HIMSS 2013 is around the
corner. With it comes an onslaught of technology jargon and buzzwords, all in
the name of providing quality healthcare. When you’re the fifth-largest health
system in the country, you’d better be known for clinical excellence as opposed
to jargon. We’re constantly striving for compassionate, affordable, quality
health services, but good intentions aren’t enough. Staying ahead of the game
is a full-time job.
We are a multi-state
provider, so it’s important for our employees to be able to share information
as if they were just down the hall from each other. When it comes to images,
which are central to diagnosis, we couldn’t just “wing it” with our various
stakeholders. An analysis of our workflow led us to conclude that we needed (wait
for the buzzword) an enterprise imaging
strategy. But what goes into that kind of strategy?
We decided that if we had to
start somewhere, then installing vendor-neutral archives (VNAs) and managing
this system as images got added and stored would become a must. We could centralize all image data and meet regulatory
requirements by replicating to a secondary location. Last year, we processed
3.25 million studies through our VNA, and we now house all our radiology and
cardiology images – about 1.5 petabytes worth!
challenge was electronic availability of images. In the past, images had to be
burned to CD’s, given to the patient or courier, and then provided to the
physician. Not exactly 21st-century
best practices — and expensive to boot! With a VNA in place, we added applications to
enable image streaming and exchange capabilities. We can now provide electronic
access to medical images on mobile and traditional devices and make them
available to our referring physicians through exchange or our image enabled
HIE. We believe this will assist in the effort to reduce duplicate imaging. The
result is a more organized workflow, streamlined day-to-day operations and
a solid enterprise imaging strategy.
We’ve only just begun transforming
the way we engage patients and physicians, but bedrocks such as a VNA ensure we
have a solid foundation.
What are your thoughts on
Professional biography: Scott Whyte is Vice President of IT Connectivity
at Dignity Health. His role includes leading
Dignity Health’s investment in physician EMRs, clinical integration/accountable
care organizations, ARRA, healthcare reform, patient connectivity, telemedicine,
and health information exchanges (HIEs).