Greg Freiherr has reported on developments in radiology since 1983. He runs the consulting service, The Freiherr Group.
How Enterprise Viewers Make Healthcare Better
When putting an enterprise imaging system in place, many health systems use a zero-footprint viewer to access patient reports and images. Houston Medical Imaging (HMI) in Houston uses a zero-footprint viewer to help not only physicians but patients as well.
Radiologists who read images made at any of the five HMI outpatient centers — and many of the physicians who refer patients to HMI — use CARESTREAM Vue Motion, a zero-footprint enterprise viewer, to read reports, review images and even examine documents. HMI radiologists routinely use the enterprise viewer to consult with subspecialists in orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery and oncology, according to Randall A. Stenoien, M.D., radiologist and CEO of HMI, which offers magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), ultrasound, nuclear medicine, positron emission tomography/CT (PET/CT), digital mammography and X-ray.
Some referring physicians use the viewer to go over the studies with their patients. But radiologists make the most of it, according to Stenoien, who explains that enterprise viewers sometimes make possible what couldn't otherwise be done.
"I have been abroad when a critical issue came up and I've just pulled up the case and sent back an email with my reply," he said. "Everybody was happy."
The enterprise viewer not only streamlines the diagnostic and patient management processes, its availability brings in business. Stenoien noted that in early September, an Israeli provider was looking for a radiology group to interpret images. While searching the internet, they found Innovative Radiology PA, the Houston-based physician group that staffs and provides services to HMI, as well as dozens of other providers.
"When we take on a new contract, we can provide PACS coverage, voice recognition and dictation services. We can also provide Vue Motion and the CARESTREAM MyVue (Patient Portal)," said Stenoien, who founded Innovative Radiology 15 years ago. Today the practice includes 16 physicians representing specialties in diagnostic radiology, general practice and interventional radiology.
MyVue is a web based "portal" specifically designed for patients. This is much different from what was standard practice in the past, when patients had to ask HMI to put images and reports on a CD that was then sent — or brought in person by the patient — to the physician. With the patient portal, images and reports are transferred electronically — and very quickly.
"The patient portal often obviates the need for CD delivery, so physicians who like to review their patients' images are able to do so without us having to send — or the patient retrieve — a CD for their review," Stenoien said.
For HMI and Innovative Radiology, zero-footprint viewers and the PACS with which they work, serve two purposes. First, they improve efficiency, providing physicians with easy access to patient images and reports. Second, they allow patients to share their images and records with whomever they choose. This adds to efficiency, as it empowers the patient.
"It makes their health care experience a little bit richer, a little bit more fulfilling," he said.
And that is the essence of what patient-centric medicine is about.
Author's note: You can download the White Paper "Enterprise Access Viewer: Connecting Technologies, Physicians, and Patients" here.