3 core capabilities of a true enterprise imaging system

Siloed imaging systems can create fragmented patient records, but a true enterprise imaging system can make data smarter with insights, make collaboration smarter with access, and make adoption smarter with an infrastructure that’s ready for the future.

By | 3 minute read | November 13, 2020

What is the cost of fragmented data in imaging? It’s difficult to quantify, but most health systems recognize the value of a more comprehensive approach – an enterprise imaging system – to help them overcome the challenges caused by siloed imaging systems.

Some organizations may think they’ve achieved an enterprise imaging system once they’ve integrated radiology and cardiology images into a single Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS). But what about other patient imaging data throughout the enterprise, such as from endoscopies, wound care, dermatology or images from dozens of other service lines? These organizations may be missing key benefits an enterprise imaging system can offer.

A true enterprise imaging system is a platform that is designed to help healthcare providers ingest, secure, manage, store, view, share and exchange imaging-related data across the entire organization. And it is designed to have three core capabilities:

1) It makes data smarter with insights

Better insights depend upon more complete imaging data, meaning that clinicians can draw from a longitudinal patient record that includes images and electronic health record (EHR) information from across the enterprise. This requires having a system that can handle the complexity of vast amounts of imaging data – from DICOM to non-DICOM, from dermatology to orthopedics, from emergency room visits to surgical planning and operation.

The enterprise imaging system can take this tsunami of diverse data and normalize it, which makes it easier for physicians and all members of the care continuum see insights about the patient they are treating today.

2) It makes collaboration smarter with access

Siloed imaging systems can take a toll on collaboration and workflows. Unfortunately, some organizations are trying to scale solutions that were not initially designed for enterprise-wide use. In some cases, these solutions have not considered that different users have different usage needs, different access patterns, and different treatment protocols which can lead to convoluted workflows.

Imagine a set of non-radiology images being presented in a radiologist specific viewer out of context through the electronic medical record (EMR), while videos, documents and other imaging content from the encounter are missing or otherwise unavailable. This can completely disrupt the care workflow by forcing doctors and their staff to put back together a picture of the patient by potentially scavenging for information outside of the EMR. They may be forced to make decisions with limited data, which not only contributes to physician dissatisfaction but could potentially delay care for the patient.

When an imaging system has been intentionally designed for the enterprise, it is more likely to enable the access that different users need. All collected data is easily visualized in the right viewer or analysis tool directly out of the EMR or on whatever device the physician is using. This capability becomes even more powerful if the patient has had multiple exams across multiple service lines as part of their history or even as part of a multi-modality discovery to understand the patient’s current condition. A comprehensive view of all the patient’s information, including imaging data, will create a complete picture of the patient’s health as a better starting point for diagnosing and advancing the patient’s treatment.

3) It makes adoption smarter with flexibility, high availability and security.

If an organization is using multiple imaging devices and systems to store patient data, it increases the opportunity for delays in information being available and the threat potential for cyberattacks. As part of a patient treatment solution how much downtime or image unavailability time can an organization tolerate?

A true enterprise imaging system needs to make content available anywhere, on any device, to anyone who has a clinical need to review the imaging patient record. It also needs to be constantly available even during upgrades or unplanned downtimes of the primary system. Finally, an enterprise imaging system can also help clinicians keep data secure and avoid capturing or storing images with random devices, workstations or flash drives by providing a centralized secure solution that is hardened against cyberattacks and data degradation.

Also, when healthcare providers are ready for new and cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), they need a cloud infrastructure that makes adoption seamless.

A true enterprise imaging system delivers value through smarter data, smarter collaboration and smarter adoption. Learn more about how to put enterprise imaging to work to optimize your imaging environment