HealthInfoNet, in collaboration with some of Maine’s healthcare organizations, will pilot a statewide medical image archive. With this new service, HealthInfoNet will seek to reduce the cost of storage and transport of electronic medical images and make sharing these images possible through the health information exchange (HIE).
“The HIE contained image reports for several years,” said Todd Rogow, MPA, director of IT at HealthInfoNet. “The new image archive allows us to share the images themselves, something providers have asked for and told us will better support their treatment decision-making.”
An estimated 1.8 million medical images are generated in Maine each year, totaling more than 45 terabytes of data, according to HealthInfoNet. The organizations participating in the pilot generate 1.4 million of those images. Currently, those images are stored in a number of different electronic archives and mostly shared between non-affiliated providers by copying the images to CDs. By consolidating these images into a single archive, HealthInfoNet has projected that Maine’s providers stand to save $6 million over seven years through reduced storage and transport costs.
There are several additional benefits of having images stored in one place. First, access to past image studies should lead to less repeat tests, meaning less cost and less radiation exposure for patients. Also, HealthInfoNet said it will be able to link each image with a single patient identifier through its HIE Master Person Index.
To build and operate the new cloud-based archive, HealthInfoNet selected Dell through a RFP process that involved vetting by both Maine clinicians and health IT professionals.
HealthInfoNet, Dell and the pilot group of Maine healthcare organizations will work together over the summer to confirm the system design and integrate the service with existing PACS and the HIE. HealthInfoNet expects to end the pilot phase in the fall and expand the service statewide by 2013.