Vendor neutral archive (VNA) and the concept of “deconstructed PACS” are somewhat vague and abused terminologies that mean different things to different people. However, as this collection of technologies matures, strategic opportunities exist to eliminate data silos and introduce EMR-based and exchange workflows that include all types of imaging. This is collectively categorized as Enterprise Imaging (EI).
Here are 5 reasons to start planning for EI:
- Newly implemented EHRs provide the foundation for specialized workflows that include all images: Your EHR implementation is either well underway or perhaps in place. Immediately after go live, even the most successful EHR implementations are blunt instruments when it comes to workflow and data capture. The process of fine-tuning workflows to improve patient care and efficiency and convenience for the care teams really begins after go live. Image-enabling the workflow with a spectrum of DICOM and non-DICOM images as well as outside documents is crucial and requires an EI strategy.
- New technologies bring patient-context to the diagnostic workflow: The new and quickly embraced FHIR standard is changing the interoperability game. Diagnostic workflows can use FHIR to communicate with the EHR. Radiologists and image-intensive clinicians can make diagnostic interpretations and treatment decisions with the entire patient record or condition-relevant summaries available, helping to reduce errors and expedite care delivery.
- Others have gone before you: EI early adopters are shaping the very definition of EI and it’s requirements. They’ve identified the right parameters of EI, and have contributed to a valuable library of lessons learned and emerging best practices. This is not to say that an EI journey is straight forward or without complications. But – with a strategic plan that taps into practical and innovative approaches, your organization can navigate the challenges.
- Small vendors are innovating and collaborating: Many new and young players exist in the EI space. They focus on solving specific problems and disrupting the bigger players. As a result, there are interesting opportunities to collaborate with such vendors, who tend to be highly responsive and innovative in crafting solutions to match your strategy and vision.
- The business case for Enterprise Imaging is increasingly clear: In the face of already significant investments on implementing EHRs, it may be difficult for organizations to make the case for Enterprise Imaging. However, there are strong business justifications:
- PACS related delays in diagnosis, report turnaround, and initiation of treatment contribute to increased cost of care.
- Health systems are consolidating and must quickly incorporate new facilities into networks to leverage distributed radiology subspecialties using smarter workflow tools.
- Comprehensive, patient-centered records are an imperative element of delivering quality care.
- Value-based care drives the need to eliminate redundant imaging. Image sharing and Enterprise Imaging solutions are necessary to support this.
- There are opportunities to reduce costs by eliminating departmental IT silos and associated redundant staffing costs.
- There are increasingly sophisticated Natural Language Processing (NLP) analytics tools that can take advantage of new and often unstructured content introduced by EI. These tools support more personalized radiology interpretations, and provide insight to guide significant operational improvements, which provide improved efficiency and cost reductions.
If your organization is ready to start planning for EI, or if you’ve started but encountered obstacles, Imaging Strategies may be able to help. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more, or to schedule time to meet at RSNA.
Imaging Strategies can help your organization develop an Enterprise Imaging:
- Governance structure
- Needs assessment process
- Business case
- Vendor selection process
- EI strategic plan