Image Management and the Enterprise: Interoperability, Integration and Workflow

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PACS vendors shared several key messages with HIMSS attendees last week. Many touted EMR integrations that allow users to tap into the functionality of both the enterprise electronic health record and image management solution without separate log-ins and allow radiologists and clinicians to follow the patient through the entire continuum of care. Radiologists, for example, may access essential data such as lab results and medications. On the clinician side, new software lets them access imaging files and related studies from the EMR and eliminates the need to move to a dedicated workstation. In addition, more solutions are becoming data-agnostic and storing DICOM and non-DICOM data like waveforms.
   
Other highlights on the show floor included an array of dashboards. Some are geared to the PACS administrator and enable proactive, at-a-glance monitoring of the PACS for optimal functionality and improved workflow. Other dashboards focus on the economic side of the radiology practices and help sites analyze business metrics to improve the bottom line.
   
Several vendors also touted the successful validation and support for various IHE actors at the IHE Connect-a-thon held in Chicago in January.


Agfa HealthCare demonstrated IMPAX Data Center and Radiology Clinical Module.

IMPAX Data Center is a conduit into Agfa HealthCare's Clinical Data Center (CDC), a real-time database of all structured and unstructured data from different clinical sources that presents a unified view of a single patient. IMPAX Data Center leverages a central bank of transactional and data services that can permit an enterprise level of data and clinical content management. Agfa HealthCare's CDC allows clinically relevant data from disparate systems to be grouped and restructured so that healthcare practitioners can more easily access the data about their patients.
   
IMPAX Data Center provides management for all DICOM images and related data elements. IMPAX Data Center helps solve archive and storage issues that require dynamic options for digital imaging and enterprise data storage. It provides a set of demographic data along with a number that uniquely identifies each patient along the continuum of care. This means that IMPAX Data Center can manage multiple patient ID domains. All data stored in CDC is linked to this patient identifier as its primary key.
   
The scalable and fault tolerant DICOM archive solution is designed to store clinical DICOM data objects, including DICOM encapsulated non-imaging objects (such as waveforms, structured reports and PDFs). It consolidates data of disparate storage systems onto a single point of storage and caters to the needs of enterprise storage for large, multi-site and multi-facility healthcare domains. The solution facilitates data sharing among healthcare providers. Patients also benefit, as their exams and results are made available at every location in the hospital enterprise.
   
IMPAX Clinical Module is a new software component for the IMPAX RIS/PACS solution that brings disparate clinical data such as lab results, pharmacy and pathology to the IMPAX Radiology Desktop. The system flags abnormal results transmitted by the modality. Integration of clinical evidence to aid the radiologists with the protocoling and interpretation process is delivered through a zero click context sensitive integration to any clinical system in real-time. The module helps meet radiologists’ needs for pharmacy data (such as medications and allergies), results (such as urinalysis for infection and liver function), lab data (such as creatinine, white blood cell count, and pregnancy test results), as well as surgical and cytology pathology reports. The IMPAX Clinical Module advances the practice of radiology to new levels by retrieving that data from multiple clinical systems in real time without separate logins and incorporates that data into the protocoling and interpretation workflow.


AMICAS shared its complete portfolio of imaging IT solutions for hospitals and ambulatory imaging businesses at HIMSS. Highlights included RadStream, Vision Reach, Insight Dashboards, Insight Services and Vision Series PACS.
   
RadStream is a next generation software product designed to optimize radiology workflow. RadStream is proven to further reduce interruptions by nearly 25 percent and further improve report turnaround time by 40 percent beyond PACS.
   
Vision Reach was designed specifically to address the