News | December 13, 2010

Cloud-Based Radiology File-Sharing System Speeds Physicians’ Review of Patient Data

December 13, 2010 — New cloud-based technology for sharing imaging studies and reports is being used to improve clinical care at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center (VCUMC) in Richmond, Va.

VCUMC is one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers and the only Level 1 Trauma Center in central Virginia. Many of its patient cases are emergency transfers from other medical facilities in which timely treatment is a very high priority. eMix, a business venture incubated by DR Systems, is improving care by replacing the transfer of radiology images and reports on CDs, a slow, labor-intensive process that sometimes fails technologically.

VCUMC is currently receiving radiology images and reports from four medical organizations: Community Memorial Hospital, South Hill, Va.; eHealth Global Technologies Inc., Rochester, N.Y.; Halifax Regional Hospital, South Boston, Va. and Rappahannock General Hospital, Kilmarnock, Va.

eMix, which stands for Electronic Medical Information Exchange, enables secure sharing of images and reports among disparate institutions and physicians via the Internet. As a vendor-neutral based technology, eMix makes possible the near-instantaneous transfer of imaging and other medical data, even between information technology (IT) systems that don’t normally “talk to each other.”

VCUMC has found eMix especially valuable to its trauma care mission. Bruce Mathern, M.D., is a neurosurgeon at VCUMC and described a case in which an elderly woman who had fallen was transferred to VCUMC after being imaged at another hospital in the region. “Having images ahead of time allowed us to plan and prepare for this patient’s treatment and deliver care quickly and efficiently when she arrived at the hospital,” Mathern said.

Before VCUMC began using eMix in Spring 2010, referring facilities usually transferred radiology data on CDs. The process was costly in terms of labor and mailing fees and slow in medical terms, even when the CDs were sent by courier or express mail. If the CD was transferred with the patient, then it was useless for treatment planning before the patient’s arrival.

The process failed technologically at times, too. In one recent case, a patient was sent to the medical center from another facility, accompanied by a CD containing the patient’s imaging studies and radiology reports. VCUMC was unable to open the CD and download the data because it was in an incompatible format. So the imaging studies that had been conducted and evaluated just the day before had to be redone.

eMix, a business venture incubated by DR Systems, features vendor-neutral technology that eliminates the need for provider facilities to burn CDs, print films or fax reports. It is a cloud-based, hosted service, so hospitals and other healthcare providers do not need to purchase or maintain any additional hardware or software. eMix will also facilitate the inclusion of patient images into electronic medical records (EMRs) and patients’ personal healthcare records (PHRs).

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