18 Jun 2020

Reasons to Adopt Enterprise Imaging

Improved Patient Care

Patient care is paramount, and when enterprise imaging is adopted, quality of care can be elevated. It’s also important to note that today’s culture has shifted away from simply diagnosing and treating the sick. Today’s healthcare culture is primed for an emphasis on proactive and preventive care. Enterprise Imaging software shown on ipad with two physicians

The current EHR and PACS require clinicians and providers to search through multiple systems to get acquainted with a patient’s medical history and profile. Crucial diagnoses could potentially be missed because the information was too buried or in too many disparate systems to be found and reconciled.

Making a comprehensive patient record available through the EHR by bringing all imaging information together can increase clinical efficiency by reducing the time spent searching through separate systems. By reducing the time physicians spend working within information systems, more time can be gained for direct patient consultation[1]. More clinical efficiency may give providers more time to deliver quality, personable care.

Related Article: Enterprise Imaging PACS Evolution

Value-Based Care Reimbursements

Enterprise imaging can help give providers back valuable time by streamlining multiple imaging systems and making data more accessible. The traditional “medical model” of healthcare is essentially when physicians wait until a sick patient presents themselves and then treats them. In this model, physicians order diagnostic tests and prescribe treatments, which may get expensive. Due to the high costs that can be related to healthcare, many are asking for changes.

To combat rising costs, a new “value-based care” model has emerged. Under value-based care, providers are paid based on patient health outcomes. In essence, providers are being rewarded for reducing chronic diseases through prevention and using evidence-based medicine to help their patients.

To deliver on value-based care by reducing the cost of delivery, providers need complete patient records to provide evidence to support diagnostic decision making. An enterprise imaging solution may help health delivery organizations (HDOs) achieve full-reimbursements under value-based care agreements, because they provide the important evidence in the form of imaging and multimedia results.

Enterprise imaging systems will play a major part in advancing healthcare organizations beyond the traditional medical model. With EI in place, value-based care can thrive.

Related article: Read our article about Gartner’s report on imaging content management for more information about enterprise imaging strategies and challenges

Elimination of Contract Expenses

The cost of ongoing PACS maintenance and support contracts can be high yet often overlooked. Organizations are currently paying anywhere between 10-20% of the original purchase price of each individual PACS in annual fees[2]. When organizations adopt enterprise imaging, they can reduce costs simply by eliminating many of those maintenance and support contracts[3].

An EI system can also reduce costs associated with disaster recovery systems. Typical PACS require backup systems because the information stored is critical to patient care and may need to be available at all times. Organizations have implemented backup systems for each separate critical PACS, sometimes in a secondary data center. In contract, when a unified EI solution is implemented, a backup system is no longer needed for each individual department. This may equate to fewer servers to maintain, license and service.

IT and Datacenter Savings

In business, data is the most sought-after resource. For healthcare delivery networks, data is just as vital. As individual hospitals become parts of Integrated Delivery Networks (IDN’s) through acquisitions, it means there is a significant amount of data being merged. When data is merged without strategic oversight, there can be major inefficiencies with reliance on multiple datacenters and data repositories which each carry their own associated costs and resource requirements.

With an EI system, data is streamlined into common datacenters through server-side image viewing solutions. This means hospitals and HDNs are relieved from supporting individual workstations that can generate 3D images or specialized software for viewing specific PACS.

From an IT perspective, departmental PACS can be resource-intensive. IT specialists are typically already in-demand and overworked, and when each department has a PACS need or issue, it can be challenging to receive the right support. When organizations adopt EI, time spent on testing, upgrades, break-fix, user education, documentation, and change requests can all be reduced.

Data-Driven Performance Improvements

Just as evidence-based medicine is on the rise, evidence-based management is taking hold as the most profitable and effective way to operate a healthcare organization. Operating profitably in today’s healthcare business environment means holistically managing costs, increasing patient referrals, and making strategic capital expenditure decisions.

One of the first challenges to becoming an evidence-based and data-driven organization is gaining access to meaningful data which is often stored in disparate systems that do not interoperate with one another.

An enterprise imaging solution helps organizations to move toward data-driven decision making, which can drive dramatic results and save significant money[4]. Many enterprise imaging solutions offer robust analytics and business intelligence functionality that brings together the operational, clinical and financial data that imaging leaders need to optimize their operations. Analyzing this data can help drive business decisions for the future.

As an example[5], EI data can improve the ability to manage a referred exam pipeline by examining order patterns from referring physicians. Increasing your exam volume by as little as 1% by identifying and working with your top referring physicians can have a dramatic financial impact. ROI models have shown that increasing average exam volumes by just 1% can yield an additional $250,000 in annual profit per hospital.

[1] https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/practices/primary-care-doctors-spend-more-than-50-workday-ehr-tasks
[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3097744/
[3] https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10278-019-00236-w
[4] Kenneth A Buckwalter, M. M., Foxworthy, D. L., Jason T Schaffer, M., Emily C Webber, M., Darryl G Morrical, M., & Hennon, D. B. (2017). Point of Care Ultrasound as a Gateway to Enterprise Imaging. Indianapolis: Indiana University School of Medicine.
[5] Kenneth A Buckwalter, M. M., Foxworthy, D. L., Jason T Schaffer, M., Emily C Webber, M., Darryl G Morrical, M., & Hennon, D. B. (2017). Point of Care Ultrasound as a Gateway to Enterprise Imaging. Indianapolis: Indiana University School of Medicine.

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