Connecting the Dots

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Lisa Fratt, Editor

HIMSS 2012 is right around the corner, and the conference provides the ideal setting to reflect on the expanding role of imaging informatics across the enterprise. During the last two decades, imaging informatics has morphed from an island owned and populated by radiology to a series of essential enterprise systems.

As the U.S. marches toward widespread adoption of EMRs, there are a few signs that foreshadow the increasing role of imaging. “We can’t have an effective electronic health information system that can’t move images,” former Chair of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT David Blumenthal, MD, observed in January 2011.

Organizations like Cleveland Clinic are in accord. Lou Lannum, director of enterprise imaging at Cleveland Clinic, has predicted that policymakers will recognize images as meaningful data and an enterprise image record as meaningful use.

With that vision, the health system has embarked on a decade-long process to develop an enterprise image archive that encompasses all image-generating modalities and departments.

This model may be a template for the future. The ultimate pathway to meaningful use may be the imaging EHR, according to Keith J. Dreyer, DO, PhD, vice chairman of radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

The increasing link between imaging, high quality healthcare and meaningful use is evident at HIMSS 2012. Lannum is outlining Cleveland Clinic’s enterprise imaging project, while other leaders are presenting related models for imaging-informed healthcare.

Take for example David S. Mendelson, MD, of The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, who is sharing progress toward a consumer-controlled image sharing network in five organizations located across the U.S.

HIMSS presents an ideal opportunity for imaging stakeholders to survey the health IT landscape, and demonstrate and expand their roles in and across the enterprise.

As you take a breather from the array of educational sessions, be sure to make time to tour and explore the convention floor. Please let us know how you are connecting imaging across the enterprise.

Lisa Fratt
Editor, Health Imaging