I often hear the same question when working with hospitals, "Where are we not utilizing image sharing where we should be?" Departments like trauma, stroke, or oncology often get the most attention and are many times the drivers for implementing an image exchange solution in the first place. Internal medicine, radiology, orthopedics and cardiology are often key influencers as well.
We started to see a shift at lifeIMAGE when we first introduced our electronic health record (EHR) integration. When we expanded access to our network and image sharing services, usage increased exponentially within our client user base because all clinicians had access almost overnight. The workflow became embedded into the daily operation and interaction within the patient record in the EHR. We began to see the need for secure image exchange across the entire health system increase, as well as solve challenges within hospital departments that may not have been as vocal about the pain they were feeling without such a solution.
Below are a few examples of departments that have benefited from using lifeIMAGE that are often overlooked.
Anesthesiology and Cardiac Anesthesiology: Anesthesiologists often need to review imaging exams prior to surgery in their assessment of the patient. Collaboration among the surgical team (pre-op) is also important and can be facilitated by having the ability to share exams and communication.
Oncologist and Radiation Oncologist: Many times treatment plans are developed by a specialist and the care itself is actually delivered at a facility closer to the patient's home. The ability to share current imaging exams and priors across disparate facilities and physicians that are operating as a virtual team in support of the patient is key for oncology patients.
Rehabilitation: Exams and reports can be easily shared with a skilled nursing facility or rehabilitation facility upon discharge of the patient. Coordinating care at the time of discharge (and even post discharge) is key to patient recovery and can often reduce the risk of readmission.
Dermatology: lifeIMAGE supports both DICOM imaging, as well as non-DICOM imaging (even pictures from an iPhone or iPad can be shared directly from within the lifeIMAGE IOS app.) This is helpful for image sharing for dermatology-related use cases.
Allergy and Immunology: Gaining access to a sinus CT for an allergist can assist with the diagnosis and treatment of patients.
It is great to see the utilization of image sharing continue to grow and expand across the entire healthcare enterprise. In a future blog post, I'll discuss some creative ways to embed image sharing, including how and when to share exams, how to request exams and the best way to receive them and make them available in the clinical workflow.