Inside IT Strategies – Moving Radiology Workflows to the Cloud

May 18, 2012
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Cristine Kao

Cristine Kao, Global Marketing Manager, Healthcare IT, Carestream

Cristine Kao

Cristine Kao, Global Marketing Manager, Healthcare IT, Carestream

Last May I was interviewed by Imaging Economics for a story about healthcare trends driving “The Cloud’s Clout” and its application in diagnostic imaging. A year later and many of the issues challenging providers remain the same – an explosion of big data, system consolidation and performance degradation, and scarce IT resources.  Add in healthcare reform, the emphasis on accountable care and value-based purchasing, and cloud is becoming even more prevalent in CIO conversations.

So it’s no surprise that cloud computing continues to dominate the discussion at health IT conferences like World of Health IT in Copenhagen or the upcoming SIIM event in Orlando. And in social media the cloud conversation is at a fever pitch with more than 125 tweets per hour sent with the #cloud hashtag.

But I am seeing a shift in the discussion. When I talk to healthcare CIOs we are no longer focused on cloud computing as a service that provides cost effective image archiving for diagnostic imaging. The conversation has shifted to virtualization of the complete radiology workflow. Can this infrastructure drive scalable performance? Distribute images to remote radiologists?  Provide access to advanced reading tools? Deliver reports to referring physicians? Act as redundant data storage? All while unlocking better resource utilization and lower operating costs?

These CIOs also want to understand how cloud-service providers are collaborating with the IT vendor ecosystem to protect them from technology obsolescence and ensure new levels of data performance, reliability and security. And they demand proof that the cloud’s early adopters have seen the promise of ehealth become a reality.

Our recent collaboration with Intel speaks to the growth and maturation of the cloud in diagnostic imaging. With 10 data centers worldwide and our study count rising to 80 Million, we regularly need to increase our processing power to account for ever-more-detailed images and the larger file sizes they bring. With the Intel® Xeon® processor E5 family, we can significantly boost the processing output that can be achieved with each server. Compared to the previous generation of Intel Xeon processors, the latest models can process images up to 28 percent faster and can handle 24 percent more users.

Watch the video below to see how three diagnostic image providers across the globe are reaping the benefits of cloud in their IT strategy and the impact the Carestream and Intel partnership has on their performance.

Enhanced security and disaster recovery drove Orlean’s Regional Hospital to be the first hospital in France to have chosen an off-site data center for medical image archiving and retrieval.

Cloud-based PACS system improves data availability for Klinik Dr. Hancken in Germany.

Renaissance Imaging Medical Associates in the U.S. coordinates the work of many radiologists in multiple locations through a private cloud solution.

How do you think the cloud buzz has evolved? What IT strategies for moving medical images to the cloud have caught your attention?