Image management takes nod from IT
Justine Cadet, Executive Editor
In this era when all facets of healthcare are expected to be meaningful, advanced image integration and interoperability will be equally scrutinized. Image management, even with very large datasets created by advanced imaging systems, has begun to take shape at the enterprise level. To facilitate this new model, cardiologists, radiologists and IT administrators will require improved healthcare technologies and methodologies.

As the meaningful use criteria have come to dominate EHR development and usage, many predict government initiatives could have the same effect on image management. "At the end of the day, someone in Washington is going to say a picture is just as meaningful as data, and [an enterprise image record] is meaningful use," predicted Lou Lannum, director of enterprise imaging at Cleveland Clinic.

Therefore, there is an added impetus to transfer all imaging data into a centralized PACS or RIS, even outliers, such as endoscopy. Montefiore Medical Center has solved earlier challenges of integrating its endoscopy imaging data into PACS; the center has transferred about 40 to 50 percent of the data into PACS.

Cardiology images generate very large datasets, which compounds the problem. Therefore, cardiologists and radiologists must rely on new tools to ensure proper diagnosis. In a recent Radiology article, Katherine P. Andriole, PhD, from the department of radiology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and colleagues cited 3D rendering, advanced assistive technology to flag relevant parts of the image set and computer-aided detection as positive advances.

In fact, a host of existing and emerging advanced technologies may aid radiologists on multiple fronts, including data management, workflow, navigation, rendering, distribution and image management, explained the authors.

These changes are continuing to impact aspects of cardiology image management. Therefore, Ramin Khorasani, MD, MPH, and Andrew Menard, JD, both from the Center for Evidence-Based Imaging and the department of radiology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, recently advised radiologists to take steps to meet meaningful use requirements. Considering the larger perspective, they wrote, “HIT provides crucial tools to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare services.”

Health IT is essential to enterprise image management, quality, safety and meaningful use; and practices that can embrace it wil derive clinical, economic and competitive advantages.

On these topics, or any others, please feel free to contact me.

Justine Cadet