UNIONVILLE, MO, July 12, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- It's a scene administrators and patients won't see much at rural hospitals and clinics anymore: doctors holding large x-ray films up to the light to review them, then packaging them up as-is or by CD format to send to other centers.
Instead, many rural healthcare centers are implementing cloud based PACS systems for radiological data, meaning they can view, download and share patient images with a single click of a button. This means more time spent providing patient care and less time waiting for diagnosis. It also means patients have more access and control over their own care, and images are protected in case of a disaster.
Nationally, many healthcare providers are working toward more efficient strategies in archiving and retrieving images and data, and have chosen vendor-neutral solutions in their efforts. With major technology on board to offer vendor-neutral archiving and an offsite archiving source, the data migration and reconciliation problem is being solved—and the results include more accurate and quicker patient diagnosis and more streamlined radiological services.
Recently, Putnam County Memorial Hospital, Unionville, Mo., chose to integrate two outdated PACS systems, each with disparate databases. Due to incompatibility, the two systems were unable to communicate with each other and data could not be reconciled. This led to many redundancies that were not needed in the system, as well as an increase in time spent finding prior films for patients.
"In some cases, films were unable to either be found, or we were unable to send the older films to the radiologist for comparison," said Jamie Porras, radiology department, Putnam County Memorial Hospital. "In turn, this caused a longer delay in receiving reports, and also lowered patient care due to the lack of information available for the radiologist to make a diagnosis."
Porras added that the hospital's previous software system had very long send times for images. This created long waiting periods for reports and forced patients to spend more time in the hospital waiting for results from our exams. In addition, using the previous software system for managing radiological images, creating copies of films was often marked by errors and poorly-designed processes.
"We no longer have random crashes or freezing issues, and the software is more user friendly, allowing our staff to have more free time to focus on our patients instead of wondering whether the software will work correctly," said Porras.
When Putnam County Memorial Hospital decided to implement an offsite archiving system for radiological images, the results came quickly. Working with Offsite Image Management, a national provider of vendor neutral archiving services for the healthcare industry, implementation of the vendor neutral system took about a day and a half. As part of a commitment to customer knowledge and service, the hospital team reviewed a demo of the system before the purchase and had a chance to ask questions openly.
"When the image archiving software was deployed, we were already comfortable with it and we could integrate it easily into our workflow without any interruptions," said Porras. "It's also simple to use, and we feel very competent in using the software to its full potential for improving our communication between physicians and patients."
Because the new system is cloud-based, Putnam County can get films into doctors' hands much quicker, and can offer more flexibility to the physician - such as images via iPad, cellphone or desktop. As a result, Porras says they have seen better patient care and more in-person contact between the doctor and the patient. They have also noted a decrease in facility workload, a more reliable image management system and a greater cost savings than their previous system.
"These are strong benefits that we're passing directly on to our rural patients as we keep up with technological advances," says Porras.
About Offsite Image Management: OffSite Image Management Inc., is an industry leader in vendor neutral archiving, picture archiving communication systems, off site data storage business continuity solutions, virtual CD cloud management and health information exchange solutions. With more than 20 years' experience, the focus at OffSite is on the healthcare industry, particularly toward rural and critical care radiology services. For more information, visit http://www.offsiteimagemgt.com.
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