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Florent Saint-Clair, eMix general manager, recently led an On-Demand Education Session of Virtual HIMSS12 titled "Cloud-Based Medical Data Exchange: What We’ve Learned So Far." Virtual HIMSS 12 was held online from Feb. 20-24.
HIMSS provided the virtual sessions as a way to take part in activities related to the HIMSS 2012 Annual Conference & Exhibition, other than attending the event in person. Attendees were able to participate from any location in the world. Virtual HIMSS12 included both interactive activities and on-demand sessions such as the one on cloud-based medical data Saint-Clair's session described the evolution of cloud-based medical data exchange from its introduction in 2010 to its increasingly wide use today. He discussed why the technology is a giant leap forward from such troublesome, limited workaround solutions as exchanging files on CDs and sending them via virtual private networks (VPNs).
CD and VPN file exchanges are plagued by such issues as time delays, reliability, and security. Cloud-based medical data exchange has created a sharp, and welcome, break with this troubled past. Thanks to the new technology, a hospital can now securely send an imaging or other medical file to a radiologist's EHR, PACS, or mobile device – indeed, any computer with a broadband connection – in just minutes.
The technology is similar to using email and just as reliable. It is also vender-neutral, which means it neatly hurdles the fact that medical information technology systems are often proprietary and don't easily "talk to" each other. This was the problem that created workarounds such as CD- and VPN-mediated file exchanges in the first place.
Saint Clair's presentation detailed the various ways that patient care has been improved by the increased reliability and speed brought about by services like eMix. He also noted the adjustments that adopters of the services face with respect to their workflow, protocols for handling images, and business processes.
For those who couldn't make it to HIMSS, the session provided an opportunity to get updated on an important new advance in medical data exchange with the depth and sophistication that HIMSS attendees expect.
The Joint Commission, which accredits healthcare organizations in the U.S, has issued a Sentinel Event Alert on "radiation risks of diagnostic imaging." Among the several concerns expressed in the Alert is the harm a patient can suffer from the “cumulative effect of … multiple doses over time."
For that reason, the Commission expects institutions to put processes in place to ensure that imaging doses are as low as possible and that unnecessary imaging is avoided entirely.
A Sentinel Alert means the Commission will now hold healthcare organizations responsible for actions called for in the alert. One way to meet the concerns raised by this new Alert is by adopting a cloud-based medical data exchange.
Services like eMix are increasingly well-established tools for avoiding the redundant imaging caused by older forms of data exchange such as burning files to CD. We've described in this blog the pitfalls of exchanging imaging files by CD and why frustrated physicians often order redundant exams when CD exchanges fail.
eMix helps minimize redundant imaging by enabling facilities to exchange files reliably in just a few minutes, even if the IT systems at either end of the exchange are proprietary products that don't normally "talk to each other." Contrast this to the frequent lost, misplaced, unopenable, or corrupted CDs that often lead to redundant imaging when transfer-by-CD is used.
The parent company for eMix, DR Systems, offers other technology that will help institutions meet the Commission's criteria on safer imaging. The Unity(™) Platform Enterprise Imaging Solution includes tools that raise clinicians' awareness of, and accountability for, appropriate dosage levels. These tools include a feature that enables a supervisor to monitor staff adherence to protocols.
The Joint Commission's Sentinel Alert highlights why patient safety and accreditation are powerful reasons to consider the approaches epitomized by eMix and Unity.
Copyright© 2009-2013 DR Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. eMix is a trademark of DR Systems, Inc. with various product modules protected by one or more of U.S. Patent # 7,660,488; 7,787,672; 7,885,440; 7,953,614; 7,970,625; 8,019,138; 8,094,901, and other patents pending. Specifications are subject to change without notice.