Kyle Lawton,
CEO, peerVue

Midwives in Ugandan huts will be connected to radiologists around the world through an international prenatal ultrasound imaging program made possible by not-for-profit Imaging the World (ITW), along with its partner, peerVue.

According to peerVue, its newly created QICS (Qualitative Intelligence & Communications System) solution will facilitate global interpretation worklist management, structured reporting, results communications, workflow, and clinical outcomes analysis of the program’s overall results.

“ITW created a very streamlined structure reporting process with data that they wanted to capture,” explained Kyle Lawton, peerVue CEO. “Typical report creation systems, like voice recognition systems or other dictation systems, didn’t conform to that structure or offer that type of flexibility. We gave them an ability to create the structured reporting user interface that they wanted.”

According to Kristen DeStigter, MD, cofounder of ITW, her organization plans to use the QICS platform to collect information from multiple program participants and unify otherwise disparate IT systems.

DeStigter, who is also associate professor and vice chair of radiology at the University of Vermont/Fletcher Allen Health Care, had already been a peerVue user at her hospital and therefore was familiar with the technology’s capabilities. During an Advanced Utilization workshop that Lawton conducted, DeStigter became aware that the company’s QICS platform could address the unique issues that remote diagnostic care presents. Factors, such as time zones, urgency of study, and interpreter specialty, would all pose certain challenges when it came to managing and monitoring the program’s complex communication and workflow.

“Without peerVue, ITW would have to devote significant resources to make the workflow behind this effort function efficiently and effectively,” DeStigter said. “peerVue automates the ultrasound results reporting and communications details necessary for the information transfer behind this unique patient care model.”

Once local midwives capture the ultrasound scans, the images are transmitted to a PACS server via cellular modem and the Internet to health care volunteers around the globe. The QICS platform will detect a study, determine the image type, and automatically assign exams to a designated reader based on study type, time zone, and exam urgency. Lawton said that exams are assigned through a global Web-based worklist, e-mail, or SMS. Interpreters will record results using special Web-based point-and-click structured reporting.

Lawton pointed out that peerVue’s solution takes into consideration the fact that the infrastructure in the developing country may not be reliable. In particular, the peerVue ITW system also includes numerous built-in Q/C and communications tracking, including escalations. “The system makes sure that nothing falls through the cracks,” he said. “For routine results, we give midwives 72 hours to acknowledge the study. If they don’t, the peerVue QICS will alert ITW staff that it has been unconfirmed and they can take action to make sure it is delivered.”

Furthermore, all studies that are interpreted to peerVue will go through a proctoring process, whereby a secondary interpreter will review a new reader’s work and ensure its accuracy. Moreover, the peer-review process won’t end after this initial screening. “Interpreters will review each other’s work periodically and give feedback, and if any discrepancies are identified, they are reviewed and resolved within the QICS platform,” Lawton said.

Through peerVue’s solution, ITW also will track the degree of patient compliance with recommendations for additional care as well as health care history and trends among the study population. “From an overall reporting standpoint, [by] using our system, you can look at trends and get a sense of what is going on there,” Lawton said, adding that it is “not only from a clinical perspective but also the socioeconomic challenges that they are trying to overcome and the cultural differences that need to be focused on to make sure that these patients are getting the care that they need.

“QICS is a highly configurable platform that can be customized to support the widely ranging workflows and goals of any hospital or clinic,” Lawton concluded. “To meet ITW’s complex needs, peerVue analyzed their sources of data and the information they wished to obtain and then custom designed specialized work spaces to meet their needs. That’s what QICS can do for any user—whether a radiology department or a not-for-profit.”