Mar
24
2014

Healthcare Now Radio Features Interview with GNAX Health’s George Robbie

Carol Flagg of HITECH Answers, an online site dedicated to “helping you achieve meaningful use of certified EHR technology,” interviewed George Robbie, GNAX Health’s vice president of sales, at HIMSS 14 in Orlando.

Carol and George discussed GNAX Health’s expertise in managing medical images; the subtleties of archiving medical data; the importance of image-enabling the EHR; and how implementing a vendor neutral archive (VNA) in concert with medical image exchange (MIE) satifies a variety of interoperability challenges.

Listen to the interview on Healthcare Now Radio by clicking here.

Mar
12
2014

Understanding HIM’s Role in Medical Image Exchange: 6 Steps

 

Hospitals face a multitude of digital challenges. One of the most pressing involves the management of images generated by Radiology, Cardiology, Neurology and other departments. Problem is these images come from devices purchased from a wide variety of vendors. Their unique imaging technologies generate proprietary file formats, each requiring a custom viewer. This creates a situation in which many medical images and study types are stored in a hospital’s PACS and Mini-PACS in proprietary formats, making it cumbersome to migrate a patient’s medical images through the system. The only viable option, until recently, was to burn a CD. To improve this process, hospitals must leverage the expertise of health information managers (HIMs).

 

MIE + ROI = HIM

Hospitals must remain cognizant of the role their image exchange solution plays in release of information (ROI). Access, controls and reporting functions are often detached and not integrated components, and few of these systems provide work queues to support release processes. However, it is intrinsic to an MIE to enhance an organization’s ability to share patient information within the health system, as well as outside the network. That makes this component one of the most important applications HIM professionals might encounter. HIPAA privacy and security, patient consent and opt-in/opt-out procedures for medical image sharing are all dependent on HIM expertise to re-engineer traditional imaging release workflows.

 

So what can HIM professionals do to gain control of the release process of medical images? How can HIM expertise limit liability and improve the expediency of the sharing of medical images?

 

 

Six Steps HIM Can Take to Improve the Sharing of Medical Images

1)   Build an infrastructure that utilizes a vendor neutral archive (VNA).

2)  Add the MIE on top of the VNA.

3)  Add a uni-viewer—a single, non-proprietary device for viewing a variety of study types.

4)  Take appropriate security measures to safeguard your MIE.

5)   Add integration to the EHR, to provide enterprise access.

6)  Add web services, including physician and patient portals.

 

 

 

Step 1: Use VNA to Reel-In Your Medical Images

The first step in improving your imaging capabilities is to centralize all medical images, collecting them from all the PACS and Mini-PACS. This important step creates a centralized infrastructure, which serves as the foundation for the next four steps. Use a VNA as the central archive across all study types, since the VNA combines the medical image formats found in DICOM and non-DICOM data. This allows the images to move to a single system that can leverage several key enterprise benefits. Not only does the VNA translate the proprietary formats used by all vendors, storing divergent types of information in a single, convenient system, it also consolidates disparate study types. It provides tangible financial cost savings as hospitals create one infrastructure for archiving, a boon in the event of disaster recovery.

 

Step 2: Implement an MIE Solution

The second step is to install and deploy a Medical Image Exchange solution on top of the VNA. Many exchanges interface with a few PACS systems and retain information for a limited time, based on the estimated life cycles of how that information is used. This sort of solution can be effective, yet more and more solutions are basing their MIE systems on centralized archives. This is the preferred approach. Access to all studies, both current and historical, creates tremendous value and is beneficial in supporting the ROI process.

 

Step 3: A Room with a (Single) View

The third step along the path to enhanced medical image sharing is to add a uni-viewer—a single, diagnostic-quality viewer to the infrastructure you are creating. This is the exciting part of this process—the ability to view medical images from any desktop or any device, stationary or mobile. Many common viewers are not considered to be diagnostic quality. Some other viewers, while deemed diagnostic quality, are not paired with devices that have diagnostic quality monitors. In any event, these viewers can’t be trusted to produce the quality of images required for competent diagnosis. A diagnostic-quality uni-viewer will maximize your imaging capabilities.

 

Step 4: Keep It Safe

Hospitals must remember to protect the confidentiality, privacy and security of the medical images being shared—just as they protect the data contained in EHRs. The release process for medical images is more complicated than ever–and riskier than ever–as images course across departments and are accessed by multiple users. When observing medical images through a remote viewer–an integral part of the optimal infrastructure we’re describing–users leave no trace of having visited the data. This is because the viewer features a Zero Footprint download, an important security feature. No software is loaded onto the device, and no patient data is downloaded to local drives. When the user is done viewing the image, all traces of the user, the image viewed and accompanying patient data are gone. Think of it this way: The images don’t move to the device; they are simply displayed.

 

Step 5: Integrate Medical Images into the EHR

The fifth step in this optimal solution is to promote medical images to full-fledged members of your electronic health record. What started as simply providing patients a copy of their films has evolved into a complex process for integrating medical images from several study types into the EHR, allowing access for physicians and caregivers. As an added benefit, these new workflows let radiologists and physicians collaborate while viewing medical image studies from separate locations. Patient care improves because of the improved accessibility to the studies, which are now conveniently housed within the EHR.

 

Step 6: Making Sense of the Tangled Web

The sixth step in our solution involves adding all of the web services that can pave your road to image exchange success. Consider this: In this day and age, many of us are constantly working. When we’re not working, we’re still connected, with the ability to react to critical issues. Good web services—especially ubiquitous Wi-Fi and cellular signals—make this possible, for better or worse. So since the technology exists, the ability to connect to our image exchanges through several methods should be cultivated. Physician portals, patient portals, health information exchanges, URL or smart links to key web pages and hospital websites are all part of an optimal solution. Don’t settle for less than what you need.

 

In Conclusion

There you have it—a simple six-step process. What’s next? Now you must determine how best to implement medical image sharing technology within your own organization. Take the time to carefully produce an organizational impact report, and you’ll be astounded at how strong your argument will be. The road to implementation may seem very long and circuitous. Just remember that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

 

See also:  A Complicated Matter: Six Steps to Understanding HIM’s Role in Medical Image Exchange  (For The Record, March 2014-HIMSS Conference Supplement)

 

Feb
20
2014

Calculating the Benefit of VNA in Dollars and Cents

 

For the past several months, we’ve discussed how a vendor neutral archive will consolidate your medical images and data access points, liberating your data from proprietary file formats associated with PACS applications, enhancing data integrity and preparing you to navigate the slippery slopes of disaster recovery and business continuity. VNA will revolutionize your organization’s ability to store data, share data and protect private health information. But there is even more to the picture. The adoption of VNA will dramatically benefit you bottom line.

 

Economies of Scale

VNA solutions help hospitals harvest tremendous cost advantages by leveraging economies of scale. Costs decrease and organizational efficiencies increase when you centralize your archive, versus attempting to manage multiple PACS archives. The cost benefits can further blossom over time as your operation grows.

 

Eliminating Data Migration Roadblocks

VNA eliminates the stumbling blocks proprietary file formats present during the migration from one PACs or storage system to another. Before VNA, providers were required to budget additional resources for data migration to cover the added costs of “translating” disparate file formats and dedicating IT staff hours to babysit tedious transfers. With VNA, there is no need to translate file formats and additional supervision is eliminated. This particular cost savings grows over time as migration from PACS to PACS becomes less necessary.

 

Taking the “A” from PACS

We are fond of saying that VNA removes the “A” for “archive” from PACS. In the past, providers were required to purchase separate archive storage for each and every PACS in their network. Depending on the number of PACS, this expense could become prohibitive. VNA, by funneling the data from all PACS into one centralized archive, dramatically reduces the overall cost of data storage. As an added benefit of removing the “A,” providers “own” their own data, simplifying their central access to key data that was previously warehoused deeply within a PACS.

 

Limit the Unabated Growth of Medical Data

VNA addresses another age-old, cost-inducing issue: how to deal with legacy data and images that are no longer relevant. It’s been determined that images typically account for 60 to 80 percent of a provider’s storage footprint. VNA can enable Image Lifecycle Management (ILM), which assists providers in legally and safely purging dated data. ILM allows providers to custom configure parameters for security and expiration policies. Obviously, there is tremendous financial benefit in limiting the unabated growth of data to be archived.

 

Trimming the Fat

By creating a centralized archive, VNA assists in the ongoing process of organizing images. The proper archiving and exchange of images can help eliminate duplicate studies. Many of these studies, generated due to ACO requirements and other insurance programs, are less and less likely to get reimbursed. This type of study, with very little historical relevance and zero fiduciary importance, should be weeded from your archive.

 

The Bottom Line

While the benefits of a vendor neutral archive are exceedingly clear from a process point of view, the financial benefits may be just as attractive.

 

Feb
03
2014

Reducing Cancer Risk with Image Exchange

A recent article in the New York Times revealed some scary statistics implying that our penchant for medical imaging significantly contributes to the likelihood of developing cancer. The article, entitled We are Giving Ourselves Cancer calls into question computed tomography, or CT studies in particular, stating the radiation exposure from one CT scan equates to between 100 and 1000 conventional X-rays. In fact, the article suggests that 3 to 5 percent of all cancers in the future may be caused by exposure to medical imaging.

There are many reasons explored for the meteoric rise in the number of CT scans over recent years, including the invaluable benefit of early diagnosis, the exorbitant cost of these machines and the need to attain return on investment, and incorrect usage. Eerily absent from these reasons are duplicate studies ordered because of inadequate image exchange. For example, a patient has a CT completed and is referred to another facility or specialty physician. The patient is handed a CD of her CT study. When she arrives at the other facility, she is given another CT scan because she lost the CD, or the study is not saved on the CD in diagnostic quality or the CD is damaged in transport. Rather than go back to the original provider to retrieve the study, which could take days, the new physician simply orders another study, needlessly exposing the patient to more radiation.

Duplicate studies occur more than one might think, with 5.4 percent of all patients getting double scanned according to Medicare data. One study published in the Journal of Pediatric Surgery showed 91 percent of pediatric trauma transfers from a community hospital to a level I pediatric trauma center (PTC) resulted in a duplicate CT study. Compare this to studies performed initially at the PTC which required zero duplicate studies.

Another study published in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery showed that nearly 30 percent of patients transferred between regional trauma centers resulted in duplicate studies. The most common reason for duplicate CT scanning was due to inadequate image quality on the CD used to exchange the study.

In addition to the patient care issue, financial cost is the other side of the story. The average per study charge found in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery study was $409. Needlessly raising medical imaging costs between 3 and 91 percent is mind-boggling. Not to mention the future costs of treating those patients who develop cancer caused by the increased doses of radiation.

It is amazing to think of the impact we could make on reducing these needless duplicate studies simply by adopting a sound image exchange strategy. We all know that CDs and snail mail are not adequate. We have this thing, called the Internet, that could facilitate the real-time exchange of medical images among facilities, providers and patients across the nation.

The solution is an image exchange service that solves the problems of individual providers while creating a platform for interoperable image exchange. We are talking about a solution that can integrate directly with a hospital’s existing IT systems, automate this exchange and secure and track all transactions for compliance. We need to do all of this in a patient-centric fashion, creating a longitudinal representation of patient care. So all authorized clinicians can access prior imaging studies and eliminate these duplicates.

That is our mission here at GNAX Health with our VNA Based Image Exchange. Sure, we can help you reduce your costs or more efficiently allocate your dollars with our solution, but in the end, we do it for the patients.

Visit us at HIMSS14 to learn more about how image exchange solutions can help your organization and your patients.

Jan
30
2014

The Costs and Cons of Running Your Own Data Center

Hospitals are for maintaining health and healing sick people. It takes a lot of data to accomplish that mission. So data—in a constant, unabated, seamless flow—is critical. Clinical metrics, quality of patient care, billing and reporting are all dependent on the mountains of data hospitals generate every day. All of this data, and our thirst for it, make data center downtime unconscionable. Downtime, in any way, shape or form, disrupts our work and tarnishes our quality of care. In a nutshell, data center downtime is our worst enemy. It must be avoided, at all costs.

The Cost of Data Center Downtime

Speaking of costs, a recent study conducted by the Ponemon Institute/Emerson Network Power Report calculated, in dollars and cents, the true cost of data center outages. Here are just a few eye-opening findings from that report:

  • On average, an outage cost organizations $690,000 in 2013.
  • The cost of a typical outage has risen 41% since 2010.
  • Larger organizations, with more elaborate networks, incurred greater expense—up to $1.74 million per incident.
  • Data center downtime costs $7,900 per minute of outage.

Drilling down even deeper, the report showed where organizations incurred the greatest costs:

  • Business interruption—an average of $238,717 per outage.
  • Lost revenues—an average of $184,000 per outage.
  • End-user productivity—an average of $141,000 per outage.

That’s a lot of money. And it’s only going to get more expensive as healthcare providers need data centers to support even more of our most critical data.

What Causes Data Center Outages?

As healthcare providers grapple with the critical decision of how to archive their data, it’s beneficial to know what causes data center outages. Here are some of the main culprits:

  • UPS system failure
  • Accidental/human error
  • Cybercrime
  • Weather incursions
  • Failure of water/heat or CRAC (computer room air conditioning) systems

There is so much that can go wrong. The thorough folks at DataCenterKnowledge.com actually compiled a list of the Top 10 Outages of 2013. Fires, floods, power surges and even corrupt software updates contributed to these massive outages that affected millions of individuals. It seems that no one was immune, from the U.S. government (healthcare.gov), to major credit card companies (VISA’s major outage in Canada), to gaming developers (Xbox went down on launch day) and the City of Toronto (a flood incapacitated the cooling system of its data center).

Is it obvious yet? Data center downtime can stop your business in its tracks. When catastrophes strike, revenue flow comes to a grinding halt; client acquisition becomes paralyzed; the data retrieval needed to complete nearly every aspect of your operation freezes. In healthcare environments, clinical trials come to a grinding halt, patient care is compromised, billing stagnates and even corporate identity suffers, as patients blame the facility for the inconvenience wrought by the outage. This is certainly not optimal.

Light at the End of the Tunnel

You’ll be relieved to know that it’s possible to mitigate the effects of data center downtime. Healthcare organizations that choose to keep their data in house are exponentially more prone to extended downtime than those that store data in the cloud. Think of it as having one, single set of keys for your car. If you misplace your keys, you won’t be driving anytime soon. If your in-house data center receives a lightning strike, or if the regional power grid goes black, you’re down.

At GNAX Health, we’re fond of saying that utilizing a colocation center, or other remote-hosted data storage service, is akin to having multiple sets of keys for your car, stored safely in various locations across town, which can be delivered to you when you need them. Colocation centers “colocate”—or create a mirror image of your data—so that a single, regional incident can’t debilitate your enterprise. Data remains available, downtime is dramatically reduced (or entirely eliminated), and revenue continues to flow.

Hosted Solutions: The Key to Dodging Downtime

Hosted solutions, due to their shared bandwidth, offer your organization economies of scale unimaginable to in-house data centers. They provide expert staff to monitor your data, freeing you from hiring staff to oversee data storage. Your focus can remain with your core business competency—healing sick people. And isn’t that what hospitals are all about?

 

Jan
15
2014

Downtime Intolerance and the Costs of Data Center Downtime in Healthcare

According to a recent report covered by Healthcare IT News, data center downtime will cost you an average of nearly $8000 per minute. In total, healthcare organizations face averages costs of $690,000 per downtime incident. Furthermore, these large dollar figures do not consider the critical, intangible costs of the disruption in patient care.

How do you ensure that your IT infrastructure is running 100% of the time?

Healthcare is a unique IT environment. To put it in context, we can categorize applications into two distinct types (critical and non-critical) and two types of application environments for every organization (homogeneous and heterogeneous). Organizations fall into those basic categories with variations in between.

Where you fall as a healthcare provider is critical to how you deploy your IT infrastructure. As a healthcare provider, you must think differently than most enterprises.

Datacenter Downtime Intolerance

If your IT infrastructure goes down, you may not be able to admit patients or care for them properly. It is what we call a life-critical operation that is downtime intolerant.

Plenty of downtime tolerant applications such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google are homogeneous and scaled across many datacenters. They can tolerate downtime at the datacenter level, encountering only a small degradation in service. They have no need for 100% uptime in all of their datacenters.

As a healthcare provider, you have many, possibly hundreds of distinct applications, which make your environment heterogeneous and located in one or two datacenters at the most. Furthermore, many of these applications could be considered “critical” – whether they are directly related to patient care or directly affect your ability to generate revenue.  You cannot tolerate downtime at the datacenter level. All levels of your operation must be redundant, highly available and backed up.

Achieving 100% uptime in your data center is no easy task. It is a full-time business. According to the study cited earlier, the average organization experienced an average of two complete data center outages over the past two years. That is unacceptable by GNAX standards.

GNAX Health can claim 100% uptime in its operating history. With over 13 years in the data center business, our state-of-the-art, Tier-IV power data center is built as a world-class facility backed by a third-party audited HIPAA and SSAE 16 Type-II compliance program.

Whether you need a primary data center or a hardened disaster recovery site, GNAX Health can provide the solution.

Come and see us at HIMSS14 to learn more about how we can help you.

Not going to HIMSS? Contact us today to learn more about GNAX solutions.

 

Jan
13
2014

VNA Technology: Why It Makes Sense

In my last few posts, I told you about VNA technology, the next generation of medical image management. I’ve evangelized the benefits of implementing this integrated storage, viewing and exchange platform for medical images. Who wouldn’t like to improve clinical decision making, enhance quality of care and expedite treatment for patients, all the while improving inter- and intra-hospital efficiencies?

To illustrate the current state of medical image management, I’ll present two scenarios—one that includes VNA and one that doesn’t. Decide for yourself which is preferable.

 

Scenario 1: A Slippery Slope

Steve Nelson, an extreme sports athlete from Atlanta, suffers a debilitating knee injury while snowboarding in Aspen. It’s the second serious injury to his right knee. The first occurred 18 months earlier when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) while skateboarding in Atlanta. (He had just recently completed rehab from that surgery.) They take a digital radiography X-ray of the knee in Aspen and decide to medevac Steve to Denver, where orthopedic care and surgery are more readily available.

Before transporting him, personnel in Aspen call Steve’s primary care physician in Atlanta to inquire about last year’s injury. After gathering that information, they burn a CD of the new X-ray and strap it to Steve’s chest for delivery to Denver.

Once in Denver, a physician assistant (PA) loads the CD into her workstation, but the disk seems to be scratched and is unreadable. With Steve in obvious discomfort, the PA orders another X-ray, which takes another 90 minutes and exposes the accident-prone athlete to more radiation.

Once the physician sees the X-ray, his findings are inconclusive and he orders a full MRI. After completing the MRI, the onsite radiologist and physician require two separate workstations to review the X-ray and the MRI at the same time. The physician calls Steve’s primary care physician in Atlanta to describe the extent of the new injury and discuss treatment options. Together, they make a diagnosis and devise a course of action.

Outcome: After various delays and a few communication breakdowns, a stressed-out Steve undergoes surgery to repair his damaged knee.

 

Scenario 2: Smooth Sailing

Steve Nelson, an extreme sports athlete from Atlanta, suffers a debilitating knee injury while snowboarding in Aspen. It’s the second serious injury to his right knee. The first occurred 18 months earlier when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) while skateboarding in Atlanta. (He had just recently completed rehab from that surgery.) They take a digital radiography X-ray of the knee in Aspen and decide to medevac Steve to Denver, where orthopedic care and surgery are more readily available.

They move Steve immediately. While still in the helicopter, the Aspen physician initiates a medical image collaboration session with Steve’s primary care doctor in Atlanta, the attending radiologist and the surgeon in Denver, as well as the EMT on the medevac chopper. All of the participants view the exact same diagnostic-quality image simultaneously and they manipulate the image in real time, despite connecting from a variety of network types including Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G cellular connections, as well as desktop computer, tablet computer and PACS workstation.

In this scenario, diagnosis and likely treatments are discussed well in advance of the timeline in Scenario 1. The decision to order an MRI is actually made while Steve is still in flight. Upon arrival in Denver, Steve is transported directly to the MRI modality. The general physician in Denver then initiates a second collaboration so that the primary care physician in Atlanta and the radiologist in Denver can study the MRI and initial X-ray simultaneously, through a multi-modal universal viewer. The diagnosis and treatment plan are finalized.

Outcome: VNA technology allows the attending physicians to expedite Steve’s care, avoiding delays and getting Steve straight into surgery (which is ultimately successful, by the way). Now Steve can plan for a parasailing adventure in Mexico next summer.

 

VNA Means Speed, Quality and Efficiency

In Scenario 2, Steve’s care was dramatically improved by GNAX Health’s Medical Image Archiving and Exchange Solution, which completed his electronic medical record with his X-ray and MRI throughout his treatment.

Scenario 1 highlighted the downside of burning medical images onto CDs, while using the patient as courier. This technique is a technological roll of the dice, failing much too frequently to be considered efficient. CDs can be lost in transit, or they can get damaged, rendering them unreadable to the receiving party. Additionally, the receiving party must import the data from the CD into their PACS, at which point the image may lose valuable notes, measurements and tags set by the previous physician.

GNAX Health digitally facilitates this critical transaction. We automatically import images into a vendor neutral format that is readable by any PACS. We provide the exchange and collaboration layer that allows physicians to hold remote, real-time consultations on demand, no matter what device attendees use or where they are located.

 

Dec
18
2013

VNA Technology: The Best of Both Possible Worlds

In my last blog post, I sang the praises of medical image exchange technology. At the core of data storage solutions for healthcare providers, I explained how vendor neutral archives (VNAs) could ameliorate the data storage environments of independent hospitals, integrated delivery networks (IDNs) and health information exchanges (HIEs). I talked about “pain points”—the moment at which organizations reach a level of urgency that makes the implementation of a VNA undeniable. And not only does the VNA remove the pain point, it eliminates the added expense of migrating data between incompatible data storage environments.

In this installment of the GNAX blog series, I’d like to drill down a little deeper into the benefits of utilizing a VNA, above and beyond the pain points. I’ll explain that the use of VNA technology has far-reaching implications and effects, benefits you may have overlooked, even past the point of implementation.

 

Beyond Your PACS

The advent of PACS—Picture Archiving and Communication Systems—revolutionized data storage in healthcare. PACS provided the advanced storage and accessibility healthcare providers sought for their burgeoning volumes of data. Hospitals finally had a means of collecting, in a manageable, accessible, digital fashion, the cumbersome clinical results generated from X-rays, CT scans, MRIs and other devices.

For obvious reasons, PACS were (and remain) popular. Many providers implemented PACS within every image-generating department in their facilities. While these PACS succeeded in corralling each department’s unique data load, they had three glaring limitations:

  • The PACS utilized proprietary file formats, which made it difficult—and expensive—to share data between departments. Data silos proliferated.
  • It was complicated and often impossible to recover data from the PACS in the aftermath of a disaster.
  • The lack of a centrally-managed data control center imperiled data security by permitting multiple, unaudited access points.

These limitations made healthcare providers feel somewhat imprisoned by their own PACS. It was time to take the next step, technologically speaking, and implement a solution that would streamline data sharing between departments, bridging the gap between PACS, and put hospital management back in the driver’s seat.

Bridging the Data Gaps

While a VNA does not necessarily replace PACS, its standards-based solution allows healthcare providers the ability to share their disparate PACS data between departments, allowing communication and collaboration that was previously unknown. The issue of proprietary file formats, which greatly inhibited (or entirely prohibited) the migration of data between departments, has been rendered moot.

By allowing the flow of data between departments, VNA pops the top off of data silos, relieving bottlenecks and returning the power of data to a centrally mediated location. Hospital management no longer needs to requisition data from individual departments; a VNA allows them to extract what they need when they need it.

In the Event of a Catastrophe

When catastrophe strikes, accessibility to data is an integral part of recovery. Prior to the advent of digital files and electronic medical records, physical folders were extremely vulnerable to loss or damage. If a facility had been inundated by flood waters, burned in a fire, or collapsed by an earthquake, a generation of medical histories might be lost. When most of that data became digital and was nestled inside of computers and peripheral hard drives, that vulnerability was reduced, but only slightly. Hardware still burns, melts and corrodes, and data stored on hardware (or on land-locked, single-department networks) is an accident waiting to happen. A VNA provides a means of protecting valuable, irreplaceable data by storing it out of harm’s way in a dedicated, secure repository. Your data is still accessible from the PACS, from a universal viewer or via the web (with the help of a GNAX Health VNA & Image Exchange). Your data catastrophe has been averted.

Safe and Sound

A VNA provides users greater accessibility and interoperability to critical data. And while increased accessibility often means increased risk, the use of a VNA actually mitigates risk by minimizing viewing options. The newly-consolidated data archive is centrally accessed by security-cleared managers, with safeguards in place to prevent unnecessary access or manipulation of data. Next generation VNA technology can now boast the best of both possible worlds—accessibility and security.

Conclusion

While PACS technology has been a boon to healthcare providers, its limitations have been glaring. Its proprietary file formats are prone to creating data silos between departments, which find it difficult and expensive to share files critical to patient care. In terms of disaster recovery/business continuity, PACS is a less-than-ideal option due to its limited accessibility. VNA technology is not a replacement for PACS, yet it provides a necessary umbrella of accessibility for the disparate data generated by PACS, all the while enhancing overall data security. In essence, VNA technology is the next logical link in the evolution of data storage and sharing in healthcare.

Dec
11
2013

Attaining Value with VNA & Image Exchange

Imaging and IT Directors and Administrators generally come to RSNA with one or two key issues they are trying to solve. Take your pick: eliminating CDs from your workflow, migrating PACS, reducing duplicate studies, image-enabling the EMR, VNA, foreign study/CD upload management, business continuity, or electronically exchanging images with affiliated hospitals and physician offices.

In the past, these issues have typically been addressed disjointedly. Archiving was treated differently than image exchange or CD management. Image-enabling the EMR was treated differently than a PACS migration. On the surface, it made sense to address each different problem with a different solution. But in the end, the compounding problems and solutions led to IT sprawl – creating separate archives for different PACS, having multiple viewers interface into the EMR, buying one CD burning tool which is different from your CD ingest tool. And business continuity was in a totally different category.

What if you could solve all these problems with one solution? Let’s say you are planning a PACS migration. Why not utilize a VNA technology to do your migration and then store your images in that vendor neutral archive so that you never have to migrate again? If you need a CD management tool, why not address it with a complete image exchange solution? What if you could image enable your EMR with just one interface? And, what if you could get all of this with the necessary business continuity built-in, so you can continue to access patient studies during a disaster?

The VNA-Based Image Exchange from GNAX Health can do all of this for you. Furthermore, you can readily attain a return on your investment by taking your currently allocated budget away from sustaining these multiple solutions and applying it towards a single solution that has the ability to scale as your needs grow.

At GNAX Health, we see the bigger picture. Eliminate the stacks of apps, individual applications that just add up in expense and burden your resources. Don’t just buy an image archive, image exchange, or image viewer. Create a Holistic Image Management Platform with GNAX Health.

 

Didn’t catch us at RSNA this year? Learn more about our total image management solution.

 

Nov
20
2013

Pain Leads to Gain—Why Image Exchange Makes Sense

Patient-focused, forward-thinking healthcare providers endeavor to improve quality of care and clinical efficiency, all the while satisfying business objectives, which often anticipate a financial return on the technology investments they’ve made. In many ways, medical image exchange technology is the low-hanging fruit that can be harvested. Implemented appropriately, image exchange will decrease operational costs and streamline efficiency in ways that generate tangible ROI.

 

Pain Points

As we are all well aware, hospitals are not created equal. Hospitals’ business objectives are as varied as the specialties they offer, their image-sharing needs, and the populations they serve. What they have in common is the desire to leverage the powerful impact of image exchange. In our experience, the need for image exchange—and the benefits it renders—kick in when we reach a “pain point”—the moment when the benefits of the adoption of a new technology become undeniable.

 

Independent Hospitals: Level Playing Field

In the case of a small physician’s office or small hospital with less than 50 beds, advanced organizational efficiencies are required to compete with healthcare networks. Image exchange helps achieve such efficiency by consolidating disparate image archives, liberating your data from proprietary formats associated with legacy PACS applications, and streamlining the utilization of your storage infrastructure. These improvements are invaluable to independent hospitals where margin for error is slim and ROI is an operational mantra. Image exchange helps to level the playing field.

 

Integrated Delivery Networks: Go with the Flow

By its very nature, an Integrated Delivery Network (IDN) seeks to leverage economies of scale that render value to its members. Additionally, it depends on the cooperation of other facilities and providers to provide the continuum of care that defines this healthcare model. The pain point for an IDN is felt early and often in this environment of cooperation where an unimpeded, seamless flow of data between its members is integral to providing care. Glitches, freezes, error messages and incompatible storage formats create data bottlenecks that promote inefficiency. Image exchange “greases the machinery” for an IDN, allowing the type of interoperability and level of care promised by the network.

 

Health Information Exchange: Share the Wealth

Nowhere is the efficacy of image exchange more obvious than in health information exchanges (HIEs). The goal of an HIE is to facilitate the access and retrieval of clinical data across multiple providers. HIEs provide physicians and clinicians with a wealth of data in a timely, efficient, effective manner. Image exchange eliminates the issue of proprietary file formats, decreases the operational costs of utilizing the service, and enhances the integrity of the data—all benefits that make HIE possible.

 

The Best of All Possible Worlds

While it is not a one-size-fits-all solution, medical image exchange technology finds itself at the core of the data storage needs of virtually every healthcare provider. From the unique archival needs of an independent hospital, to the unimpeded operational flow required by the IDN, to the speed of access and compatibility of formats that make an HIE such a valuable resource, image exchange can provide dramatic improvement for providers–from both operational and revenue points of view. Wouldn’t you like to solve a plethora of data storage and migration problems while simultaneously lowering IT costs? Who wouldn’t!

Join us at RSNA 2013 in booth #6146 to learn more or visit www.gnaxhealth.com.

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