Medical imaging is moving to the cloud. That means the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to improve clinical outcomes for patients is inevitable. Tracy Byers, former 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.
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.
Enter Change Healthcare Stratus Imaging’s fully cloud-native PACS, which helps radiology practices and departments avoid cumbersome, time-consuming upgrades. It also improves security, achieves a compelling return on investment, and prioritizes the delivery of patient care.
To Eric Lacy, director of clinical applications at East Peoria-based Central Illinois Radiology Associates (CISA), the benefits are clear. “We have worked with Change Healthcare for years and were excited to be development partners for their zero-footprint PACS,” Lacy says. “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 for a missing CT or MR image on a PACS–even with the support of the most technologically savvy radiologic 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.
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—at the right time. The algorithm uses AI 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 radiologists can easily access the images, they don’t have to waste time manually searching for studies—and that prevents them from ordering unnecessary scans.
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 consolidate interpretation and quality tasks—either in single- or multi-system environments—to achieve visibility and communication.
Radiology departments and practices don’t operate in silos. 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.
It’s something Ed Sippel, information technology director at Wichita-based Kansas Imaging Consultants, has experienced firsthand. For one thing, he says, Change Healthcare Stratus Imaging Share has allowed Kansas Imaging Consultants to “get out of the CD-burning business.”
“If sites are demanding CDs, we tell them we will send them the images via Stratus Imaging Share, and then they have the option of burning a disc if they would like,” Sippel adds. “If it’s a site using Change Healthcare, 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.”
Before image-sharing, however, it’s important to keep these two tips in mind:
- 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 costs and strip out complexity.
EXTEND BEYOND RADIOLOGY
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. The first departments to consider: Cardiology, 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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