“The problem is that digital mammogram images can not be displayed on all workstations,” said Dr. Margarita Zuley of University of Rochester Medical Center and member of the IHE Mammography Committee, on Tuesday at the RSNA show. As a result, the lack of system interoperability in this growing sector of women’s health – digital mammography – is not allowing physicians to share digital mammograms with other physicians, nor can they transmit this information back and forth between various healthcare organizations.
Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) is addressing the problem. The organization has developed a mammography image profile called MAMMO. In general, the goal of IHE’s integration profiles is to solve specific clinical needs, said Zuley. Vendors can then take these profiles and integrate them with their products.
“Overall, the goal of IHE is to make sure that the physician has everything they need to take care of the patients,” said Zuley. Then, a patient’s entire information is accessible and available for various clinicians so that they can assist in diagnosis and treatment. IHE is proving how important it is for systems to be seamlessly interoperable with healthcare information systems.
Zuley explained to audience members that the initial problems MAMMO set out to tackle are related to content/display issues, such as image size, bad orientation and justification, image contrast adjustment, annotations, inconsistent CAD markings and print issues.
The first official Connect-A-Thon will occur this January, said Zuley, and approximately 15 vendors and more that 20 pieces of equipment will be involved.
Why does this take so long, Zuley posed? “This initiative [MAMMO] started in 2005. First you have to figure out what the problem is. Many vendors must be willing to participate, solutions need to work for everyone and the implementation is labor intensive, time consuming and costly for vendors.”
IHE is also writing a user’s handbook intended for administrators, radiologists and IT personnel. “Those that are not IT-savvy,” explained Zuley. The handbook will have two chapters that will help users purchase digital mammography equipment. Once completed, the handbook will be available on the IHE Website.
Additional information on IHE’s MAMMO can be found on the Web at http://www.ihe.net/Mammo/index.cfm