Q&A: Making teleradiology more broadly available

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Dan Braga, Proscan ImagingProscan Imaging is a teleradiology provider with 30 imaging centers nationally which performs reads for hundreds of facilities across the country and world. The organization is involved in some innovative work-arounds to aid physicians in need of peer-reviews and overreads. This is possible via a new web-based tool that requires only an ordinary PC with a web browser. Health Imaging News spoke with Dan Braga, PACS administrator, to learn more about Proscan’s more conventional integration with other healthcare facilities and their new web tool that gives other off-network doctors access to the same services.

For your day to day business, how are you integrating your systems to help with data management and workflow?

The integration we have in our environment is between our RIS and PACS. We also have a breast CAD (computer aided detection) system for breast MRI. We’re in teleradiology so we receive studies from all over the world – every single breast MRI that the PACS receives is automatically sent to our breast CAD system for processing. It automatically does the post-processing on it and produces the CAD images. We also have Philips 3D workstations that we do some cardiac-type image review that is integrated with our PACS.

What gains have you made in the sharing of images and patient information across healthcare facilities?

We offer to all of our referring physicians access to our PACS. For our basic referring physicians, we provide web access to reports and images through our portal. Using the portal, physicians can get a quick look at images, however advanced manipulation functions are not available. For our advanced users, they can have a viewer installed in their office that allows very advanced image manipulation and viewing. Typically, the ortho and cardio physicians are most interested in the advanced viewing capabilities. The important thing is to provide referring physicians with options. Some will want it one way and others will want it another way. Being flexible in the capabilities you offer is critical. 

How about facilities or individuals that you’re not networked with? Do you have a way for them to send you images?

We now offer a method for uploading images to our PACS which does not require a VPN. This service is fully HIPPA compliant. Currently, the service is being used by physicians around the world for peer review and over-reads, as well as many other interpretation types. Any physician or healthcare organization can go to our website and upload the study via a secure connection. No software needs to be loaded on the computer. So far the most common use of this service has been radiologists that want over-reads. Normally the cost of doing that is prohibitive for a radiologist because they’d have to overnight a CD or film, or set up a VPN and transmit it. Therefore this upload feature is very useful.