In today’s extensive medical file sharing environment, where instant accessibility to a patient’s records is not just critical but expected, how do CDs and films fit into the landscape of electronic file management systems? Not easily. Unfortunately, all too often, their integration is not smooth and easy, and sometimes they are left in the dust.

To bridge the gap between different file management formats, ETIAM, the medical image connectivity company, introduced ETIAM-Connect at this year’s HIMSS conference. This unique turnkey external image management system is designed to be a fast, secure cross-enterprise solution for managing and communicating images in multiple formats—hard copy, CD, or electronic.

Files residing on CDs may be critical to a patient’s care, and yet sharing that information between institutions or even just between departments within the same institution can be time-consuming at best, impossible at worst. Such inefficiencies can result in patients having to undergo the same procedures more than once, exposing the patient to unnecessary risk and the medical system to additional expense. In a press release, ETIAM Corp CEO and cofounder Emmanuel Cordonnier described the current CD management situation as “a growing problem in many hospitals where external discs are often managed haphazardly and remain restricted to a specific department. Additionally, a significant number of exam CDs are in file formats incompatible with a facility’s image viewing technology or are simply unreadable.”

Typically, most image sharing systems are limited to handling only electronic files, not CDs or film, and transmit them on a point-to-point basis. ETIAM-Connect brings order to the thousands of CDs that enter many facilities every day. The goal is to put all existing external images, and imaging-related data, including documents, forms, and reports, to productive use, irrespective of their original format and source.

The first step in the solution involves scanning patient films and copying CDs into ETIAM-Connect, which accepts patient images and transmits them to the relevant department or directly to the PACS. ETIAM-Connect is designed to seamlessly integrate external images into a facility’s internal workflow by automatically identifying exam type, directing information to the appropriate department, enabling any image in any format to be viewed, and reconciling patient data with in-house identifiers.

ETIAM-Connect creates an organized digital exam management system similar to a PACS that allows outside images to be saved to a temporary archive and routed efficiently to the point-of-care. For example, ETIAM suggests that stroke patient images could be immediately transmitted to the correct specialist, while oncology second opinion cases could be entered on the appropriate radiologist’s work list for review at a later date. External images also can be earmarked for permanent storage to a PACS or eliminated from temporary storage as needed.

Most other systems utilize cloud image storage and provide a viewer restricted to the system, whereas with ETIAM-Connect, electronic files are transferred ultrasecurely and efficiently using innovative technology that bypasses the IT cloud and provides all users with a universal DICOM viewer to display images from a full range of vendors.

ETIAM, concerned primarily with multimedia connectivity in health care, believes that if a cloud system is to add value, it must become an integrated solution that addresses both electronic study transfer and a current, traditional (CD) means of transferring images. With ETIAM-Connect, no patient image is left behind.