Military Health System to improve retrieval of medical images

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The Military Health System (MHS) will introduce new imaging capabilities for its EMR system in the next few months.

The first capability will allow easier retrieval of noncomputable files, such as scanned documents and photographs, from the MHS Clinical Data Repository (CDR), a central database that stores all health records for the Department of Defense.

The Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Technology Application (AHLTA) retrieves those records from the CDR.

According to MHS, clinicians can currently store images in the CDR but they are difficult to retrieve. The goal is to make it easier for clinicians to retrieve images at subsequent visits and in different locations, said MHS.

To this end, MHS will introduce similar functionality for viewing radiographic images to a small number of locations. This second phase of the project will be deployed worldwide over several years.

The new imaging capabilities will be added by deploying a web-based front end to the Documentum enterprise content management platform, according to Barclay Butler, senior vice president at Apptis, a technology integrator, and the prime contractor on the imaging project.

The imaging files will be placed in a separate registry in CDR, Butler said. The registry will enable clinicians to pull images up side-by-side with computable AHLTA data.

Apptis awarded the document-viewing component of the project to AccuSoft, an imaging software developer in Northborough, Mass. AccuSoft tools will enable manipulation, such as rotation and colorizing, of the images.

“The key benefit of this effort is the reunification of the medical record,” Butler said. “These capabilities pull together records from all modalities to provide a complete medical record to the clinician.”