R. Ernest Waaser

By now, there can be little doubt that the health care industry needs to enter the world of digital information. To date, there have been many efforts to bring medical enterprises into the information age. It is clear, nonetheless, that many health care providers lag far behind their counterparts in other fields in participating in the era of electronic information management. This postponement has been unfortunate. Scarce health care resources continue to be allocated by the institutions that are still unable to take advantage of the productivity gains of filmless operation.

Lost films, slow report turnaround, repeated examinations, and high operational costs are among the woes that the filmless department is able to leave behind it. The benefits of the digital department have seemed clear for some time, so why has the implementation of information technology in health care been subjected to such a widespread developmental delay? In many cases, the major hurdle has been the size of the initial capital outlay needed before an institution can take advantage of digital technology.

Fortunately, many organizations will be able to solve this problem by using an application service provider (ASP). Although ASPs have been common in the worlds of finance, insurance, and other data-intensive industries for many years, they are just emerging in health care, and some confusion may result. For this reason, Agfa is pleased to sponsor this intelligence report covering the importance of ASPs and their role in supporting radiology.

By clarifying the nature, advantages, and best uses of ASPs, this report will bring its readers up to date on a trend likely to be important to the future of radiology (and to the competitive strategies of radiology providers). The largest institutions will be able to use ASPs to reduce worry, promote regulatory compliance, and overcome the difficulties now being encountered in recruiting information-technology personnel. Smaller organizations may, in addition, find an ASP to be the key that finally permits them to enter the digital era by reducing both capital expenditures and the risk of obsolescence. Agfa is committed to not only helping organizations explore the implications of ASPs, but to entering partnerships with health care institutions that make full use of the concept in promoting productivity, efficiency, cost control, and better patient care.

R. Ernest Waaser
Agfa Medical Imaging, Greenville, SC

R. Ernest Waaser, is President Agfa Medical Imaging, Greenville, SC

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