lifeIMAGE recently surveyed members of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) to gain a better understanding of the state of enterprise imaging and image data interoperability. One hundred chief information officers responded with some great insights on the status of these initiatives at their facilities.
To provide a little background, CHIME is a professional organization for CIOs and other senior healthcare IT leaders. A CHIME member is often the person who ultimately oversees the information services department and/or chairs the information technology steering committee for a healthcare organization.
Our survey asked questions about the overall enterprise imaging strategy, planned technology purchases, and the status of image data interoperability. It’s clear from the results that building an enterprise imaging strategy is top of mind for these healthcare IT executives and that many organizations are well on their way to implementing them, but that interoperability roadblocks remain a challenge.
Other key findings include:
- Imaging isn’t just for radiology, it’s a shared enterprise responsibility - the survey found that imaging, which was once under the tight purview of radiology, has evolved into a core responsibility for an organization’s IT staff. Eighty-six percent of surveyed CIOs reporting that IT owns enterprise imaging, including the ability to exchange image data across services lines, either exclusively or as a shared initiative with radiology departments.
- Interoperability correlates with patient care - More than half of CIOs said patient care can be impacted when image data isn’t available. Many respondents commented about delays in diagnosis and care, having to repeat studies, and patients potentially going elsewhere for care as a result of inefficient imaging practices. For example, one CIO said, “If we can not access images across different locations, information may be missed, diagnoses may be wrong, and patients may be impacted.” Despite this awareness, only 54% of the respondents said their facilities could electronically exchange data with any source.
- Interoperability cost implications are a secondary concern - The main driver for imaging interoperability is patient care, not ROI. However, one-third of respondents indicated that their facility might be losing revenue because of image data interoperability challenges. One CIO commented,“Depending on the reimbursement contract, some payers may refuse to pay for studies when considered duplicative.”