Medical imaging is moving to the cloud. That means the use of AI to improve clinical outcomes for patients is inevitable. Tracy Byers, senior vice president and general manager of enterprise imaging at Change Healthcare, says, “We’re thrilled to be bringing a feature-rich, highly secure, zero-footprint, cloud-native PACS, and our natively built AI solutions to market.”

But a successful cloud imaging migration is quite the undertaking. Here are six things to consider.

Archiving

The cost to maintain a data center is steep. But radiology departments need to provide access with a scalable image archiving solution.

The answer: A cloud-native architecture, one that allows hospitals and radiology practices to build customized workflows and easily adopt new functionality. The added benefit? Long-term efficiency across the enterprise.

Change Healthcare Stratus Imaging’s fully cloud-native PACS supports radiology practices and departments in avoiding cumbersome, time-consuming upgrades. It also improves security, achieves a compelling return on investment, and prioritizes the delivery of patient care.

Eric Lacy, director of clinical applications at East Peoria-based Central Illinois Radiology Associates (CIRA), says, “We have worked with Change Healthcare for years and [were] excited to be development partners for their zero-footprint PACS. “The speed of their viewer and the rich feature set struck me as truly game-changing from the moment I first saw them. I am truly looking forward to what the solution can do for CIRA, our partners, and our patients.”

Analytics and AI

No radiologist has time to search around in PACS for a missing CT or MR–even with the support of the most technologically savvy radiology technologist by their side. Still, this search for prior exams is common. It can occur because the procedure description or DICOM header data associated with the exam make it difficult to locate in your PACS system.

Change Healthcare Anatomical AI is the answer. A cloud-based platform, Anatomical AI relies on machine learning algorithms to help radiologists and radiology technologists locate the right images–and at the right time. The algorithm uses artificial intelligence to identify body regions using image pixel data. The result? Barriers caused by inaccurate or incomplete metadata that are traditionally present in medical imaging are removed.

Because the images are easily accessible to the radiologist, they don’t have to waste time on manual study searches–and that helps reduce the ordering of unnecessary studies.

Robust workflow features

Radiologists want to interpret studies. Their goal is simple: Improving clinical outcomes for their patients. Helping radiologists achieve this goal requires having access to a vendor-neutral, flexible medical imaging workflow rules engine. This helps radiologists consolide interpretation and quality tasks–either in single or multi-system environments–to achieve visibility and communication.

Image sharing

Radiology departments and practices don’t sit on an island on their own. They need access to a cloud-based medical imaging sharing platform that makes it easy for healthcare facilities to view and exchange radiology and cardiology images with others in the healthcare ecosystem. This includes payers, patients, and software platforms–such as EHRs– to drive quality improvements and increase collaboration among physicians, while reducing costs.

Imaging Exchange with Change Healthcare allows Wichita-based Kansas Imaging Consultants “to get out of the CD burning business,” says Ed Sippel, information technology director. “If sites are demanding CDs, we tell them we will send them the images via Imaging Exchange and then they have the option of burning a disc if they would like. If it is a site using Imaging Exchange, the images are there in an instant. This is great for trauma patients. The images can be there before the patient arrives, so the receiving hospital can be ready when the patient arrives.”

Two quick tips with image sharing:

  • Make it easy for clinicians to request a consult on current and prior radiology exams using a secure email.
  • Reduce patient care delays by empowering specialist offices with access to view exams and reports–well before the patient visit.

Enterprise universal viewers

Anytime, anywhere access to relevant imaging data. That’s what gives referring physicians a unified view of a patient’s history. Change Healthcare helps by providing a scalable, zero-footprint universal viewer platform.

Selecting a single, scalable medical image viewer also helps radiology practices and healthcare facilities control cost and strip out complexity.

Extend beyond radiology and cardiology

As mentioned earlier, radiology doesn’t live on an island. Radiology practices and departments can maximize value from their technology investment by expanding beyond radiology and cardiology. The first departments to consider: Ultrasound, pulmonology, dermatology and wound care, endoscopy, and dentistry.

Radiologists have been focused on patient care throughout their careers. Now it’s time for the entire healthcare enterprise to put the necessary technology tools at their fingertips.

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