CVIS, Cardiology PACS Widening Image Access

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Upon first glance, it might appear that the line between a cardiovascular information system (CVIS) and a cardiology PACS is beginning to blur. The cardiology PACS market is moving beyond just image storage and distribution, focusing on gathering relevant patient data to provide more data points to work with and help physicians make better decisions for patient care. But while cardiology PACS and CVIS continue to build momentum toward system integration, the demarcation is still there, due to the capabilities of CVIS in offering additional autonomy and business benefits. One thing the two systems share is the capability to consolidate cross-departmental data, albeit of slightly different natures.

For cardiology PACS, the explosion of cardiac-related advances across imaging modalities has created demand for expanded capabilities beyond simple image storage and distribution, providing physicians with access to patient-specific information related to images and reports within the facility or externally. Meanwhile, with this increased volume of image data, cardiologists also need to have access to more extensive patient data, such as hemodynamic monitoring, EKG and electronic medical record (EMR) information to create structured reports.

Data mining reveals business results

A CVIS does more than just connect cardiologists, patients and administrators, inside and outside the hospital. It arms departments with efficient access to images and reports to inform every decision, while streamlining insurance claims and coding, monitoring inventory levels, enhancing scheduling and structured reporting and facilitating database management.

At the University of Colorado Hospital—where physicians, clinicians and staff are continually striving to provide high-quality patient care—the Cardiac & Vascular Center is realizing the benefits of an integrated CVIS to streamline clinical and administrative workflow for two cath labs, four peripheral vascular interventional (PVI) labs, two electrophysiology (EP) labs, eight echo labs and three surgery suites.

Prior to the implementation of a CVIS, the Cardiac & Vascular Center was operating with a few homegrown databases within the cath lab and EP labs for structured reporting. The information systems team phased in different modules associated with Lumedx’ CVIS, first purchasing the Apollo Advance clinical data repository, CardioSchedule for electronic scheduling and CardioDoc for physician structured reporting. CardioSchedule was deployed in all interventional areas and clinics first, followed by CardioDoc, Apollo modules and interfaces in cath and EP.

CardioSchedule operates in real-time, working to eliminate scheduling conflicts and double-bookings of rooms, equipment and resources, while offering cath, EP and now PVI new levels of stability, consistency and accountability.

Prior to CVIS, getting clinical data out of the labs and into the EMR had become time-consuming—with reports often showing up two to three weeks after an imaging study was completed. Now, the research hospital runs reports and queries with ease.

“The amount of data you can pull out is phenomenal,” says Becky Schultz, systems analyst, Cardiac & Vascular Center. “If physicians come to me and want to see all our CABGs for male patients over 55, I can pull that data out for them right away. And if we were doing dedicated reports, I’d never be able to do that.”

Additionally, the software module broadens access to other departments, such as transplantation, enabling that department to schedule procedures with the center.

The IS team next set its sights on interventional radiology (IR), which had been managing its par levels through a paper-based system. By implementing CardioInventory, IR now has an electronic log of its IR supplies with the capability to see how much is on hand at a given time or what stock was used in a specific procedure. “We can do data analyses that we were not able to do before,” says Schultz. For example, she can analyze why inventory costs increased and determine whether it is due simply to higher volumes or another cause. “I can tell you at any given moment how much inventory is on my shelf and what the cost is of that inventory,” she adds.

Additionally, by using the Apollo module for billing, the Cardiac & Vascular Center has shortened the billing cycle and opened the door to conducting operational and cost analyses, such as comparing CV billing to what the hospital is billing as a whole.