Imaging Tests Available Stat! The Blame Game Isn’t Necessary

March 9, 2012
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Now that everyone is cost-conscious when it comes to healthcare, it seems there’s a competitive atmosphere to point out people and facilities that “drive up” the costs.

Now that everyone is cost-conscious when it comes to healthcare, it seems there’s a competitive atmosphere to point out people and facilities that “drive up” the costs.

So, if you read the article, “Physicians Who Use EHRs Order More Imaging Tests, Study Finds,” on iHealthBeat, your first reaction might be to blame those @#$%^ EHRs and the doctors who have gone digital in their practices.  Read a little deeper in the article, however, and you find that physicians appreciate the convenience of digital images.  So instead of waiting for the images from a lab that might take several days, they order a second, redundant study to know more, sooner, about a patient.  They are actually putting the patient FIRST!

Danny McCormick, the lead author of the study says the research “raises real concerns about whether health information technology is going to be the answer to reducing costs.”  Sorry, Danny.  You missed the point.  Doctors need those images STAT, not next week.  What you should be concerned about is finding a mechanism to get those images to physicians as quickly as possible, not by courier or messenger.

What this world needs is a cloud service that makes the images available to a physician within minutes so that he can view them on his computer, iPad or Android tablet, or smartphone.  In fact, it would be really helpful if the cloud service notified the physician’s smartphone that the images were available.  I’m not a betting man, but I believe that if this service were available, this study becomes meaningless.  There would be no need for a second or repeated CT scan or x-ray or MRI.

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GlobalMed thought about this problem and recently purchased a small company called EMDTransfer.  Together with our research and that acquisition we now have CONi, a cloud service that does what I’ve just described.  In fact, we demonstrated it in Las Vegas at HIMSS.  Instead of a CT scan (those aren’t real portable), we captured visible light images in the exhibit hall with our TotalExam camera and then sent them to CONi.  (By the way, the visible light images are DICOM just like the invisible light images.)  Moments later, we were able to access those images from a secure Web site using an iPad.  For HIPAA compliancy, we were only viewing the images saved on the CONi PACS server; they were not resident on the iPad.  And you can do more than just view the images.  You can zoom in or zoom out, rotate them, reverse them, increase or decrease both brightness and contrast.  If the images are from a CT Scan, you can cycle through the series.  You can even choose to ignore the soft tissue and just view bone.

There are two portals for CONi – one for a physician, the other for a patient.  Yes, the patient can now have access to his or her own medical images!!   In the future, no need to scurry around trying to locate that CD with the MRI or CT Scan or locate the medical records of the doctor who retired or sold his practice.  A patient merely gives his new doctor access to his medical records on the CONi PACS.

As for the physicians, they just sign in, choose the facility (if they practice at more than one) and the patient, and they can look at all the images for that patient.

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It is that simple.  In case you missed HIMSS, look for us at ATA2012 in San Jose April 29-May 1.  We will show you exactly how we do it.