CVIS: Streamlining Cardiovascular Image & Information Management

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Agfa HealthCare’s IMPAX CV is ideal for multimodality cardiology environments including cath, echo, non-invasive vascular, nuclear cardiology, and ECG data management to create a single, integrated cardiovascular image and information solution.

Cardiovascular image and data management can be challenging. Procedures are diverse, and many facilities operate multiple decentralized information systems. Plus, some hospitals and cardiology practices continue to rely on outdated and inefficient technology like tape-based storage for cardiac cath procedures.

Traditional cardiovascular image management and reporting configurations are brimming with both workflow and patient care challenges. Physicians may be forced to log on to multiple systems to access patient images and data, which not only impedes workflow but can also slow diagnosis, decision-making and treatment. Reporting presents similar challenges. A single site may use a variety of paper and transcription-based options, making database creation and registry compliance labor-intensive and time-consuming. Multiple, disconnected systems translate into a greater burden on IT staff, too. In many hospitals, management and troubleshooting of outdated systems consume scarce IT resources.

The status quo, however, is a dying breed. Hospitals and cardiology practices across the country have tapped into a new paradigm that offers significant clinical and operational benefits. Agfa HealthCare’s IMPAX Cardiovascular Suite (IMPAX CV) delivers a one-stop shop for cardiology image access and structured clinical records. IMPAX CV includes a cardiology PACS, which delivers advantages on a number of fronts including simple access to patient images and data and consistent structured reports, which can lead to efficient clinical decision-making. It represents the business model for the future of cardiovascular image and information management, providing a means for sites to enhance patient care, communication and workflow. This month, several hospitals and cardiology practices share the secrets of their success with Cardiovascular Business.

The diverse deployment

University Hospitals in Cleveland, Ohio, represents a diverse and widespread health system. Its facilities run the gamut and include Case Medical Center, a 947-bed hospital and academic medical center, as well as multiple community hospitals and outpatient clinics. In June 2007, University Hospitals replaced several aging cardiac image and data management systems with Agfa HealthCare’s IMPAX CV. The state-of-the-art system serves as a central repository for echocardiography, non-invasive vascular and cath studies for 12 University Hospitals sites in three counties. EMC CLARiiON and EMC Centera are deployed to manage enterprise storage needs.

“Physicians no longer need to access different systems to view echo and cath studies,” says Keith Fox, supervisor of adult echocardiography laboratory. University Hospitals also plans to migrate or convert 10 years of historical data onto IMPAX CV to meet a state mandate for retention of patient data. “The migration is complex and will take two years, but it will improve the delivery of patient care because cardiologists will be able to view and compare current and prior data to determine if the patient’s condition has deteriorated or improved,” explains Fox.

The ultimate goal in the health system is accelerated and improved patient treatment, says Cardiology PACS Project Manager Linda Smitley, RN. Rapid report generation and distribution facilitate the organization’s patient care goals. “Agfa HealthCare’s clinical structured reporting capabilities made it possible for University Hospitals to meet this goal,” says Smitley. With IMPAX CV, cardiologists complete the reporting in the cath lab while the patient is on the table. The completed document can be faxed to the patient care unit and to referring and attending physicians, promoting prompt and responsive patient care.

The streamlined IMPAX CV Reporting module improves the hospitals’ previous model. The previous report workflow entailed multiple steps; physicians completed reports at the end of the day before sending them to transcription. After transcription returned the report, cardiologists proofread and signed the document before sharing it with other clinicians. The time difference is significant; in some cases report turnaround plunged from more than 72 hours under the transcription model to same-day results with IMPAX CV.