Enterprise imaging: Don’t neglect workflow

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 - Evan headshot 2013
Evan Godt, Editorial Director

Images are being generated everywhere throughout an enterprise. Are you prepared?

That was the question during a session on enterprise imaging last week at the Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine (SIIM) annual meeting in National Harbor, Md., just outside the nation’s capital. But rather than getting lost in the technical weeds, speaker Louis Lannum, director of enterprise imaging at the Cleveland Clinic, stressed that a comprehensive strategy includes an enhanced focus on workflows.

“Very few departments aren’t capturing images, and you have to have workflows to manage that as part of your strategy,” he said.

Lannum noted that some institutions looking to manage images across the ‘ologies—or enterprise clinical multimedia, for those seeking the most up-to-date buzzwords—have tried to drive workflows through the RIS. This can get ugly, he said, as imaging in radiology is order-based and in many other departments, imaging is an event during another procedure.

Because of this, a true enterprise imaging workflow must document the event of image capture and not be constrained by a focus on orders. “You don’t always have to have an order,” said Lannum. “Nobody orders a clinical photography picture when they’re doing wound care. When you go to surgery, nobody orders an anesthesiology line placement, it just happens during that event, but it is an imaging event, and you’ve got to understand what drives that imaging event.”

Another strategy offered by Lannum is to develop workflow engines inside the vendor neutral archive space to drive workflows outside of the radiology department. “In that sense you’re making radiology just a department that hangs off the enterprise imaging storage like everybody else.”

It’s something to think about as you reflect on the SIIM meeting and discussing your enterprise imaging strategy with the team at your institution. Identify imaging use cases, consider the challenges, and consider how these use cases fit within the broader context of your overall enterprise imaging strategy.