Reduction of cost — it’s on everyone’s agenda. As health care organizations scramble to find ways to operate with less, the phenomenon of regionalization creates further obstacles. For imaging, introducing regionalization leads to scattered records, duplicate exams, unnecessary patient transfers and other complexities. But what if you had visibility into all those imaging exams across your enterprise and region?

By moving to new technologies that help consolidate your infrastructure, today’s enterprise medical imaging environment becomes ripe for improving operational efficiency and streamlining expenses.

Depending on the size of your facility and the size of your goals, different approaches to image sharing can help reduce costs. Consider these six avenues:

  1. Consolidate to an enterprise PACS. It’s costly to maintain more than one PACS. Instead of multiple radiology PACS in each individual hospital, consolidate to a single radiology PACS across the enterprise. Follow suit with cardiology and your other “ologies.”

  2. Institute electronic transfer of data. Beam a study from one hospital to another hospital. Receiving hospitals can choose whether they want to import the study into their PACS or just look at it and cross it off their system.

  3. Migrate to a vendor-neutral archive (VNA). Consolidating images to a VNA allows physicians to have immediate access to the entire record regardless of where the patient images were taken.

  4. Infuse patient safety. More and more states are adopting radiation dose laws and radiation dose protection for patients. By first centralizing imaging data into one repository, you can avoid trying to estimate the dose at each individual imaging location.

  5. Share across a health information exchange (HIE). Centralize image data with a clinical data exchange that allows customers to store all images and the documents related to those images in a single repository to share with other health care systems or even a regional HIE.

  6. Define your image retention policies and act on them. Information lifecycle management (ILM)/retention management allows you to maintain studies according to the retention policies and frees up costly storage space on your archives.

In health care, we’re all becoming accustomed to doing more with less. With enterprise imaging, less is more.

Cindy Hardin

About the author

Cindy Hardin, MSRS, RTR, MR, is executive director for Infrastructure Product Management in McKesson’s Imaging & Workflow Solutions. With 27 years in health care, including more than a decade with McKesson, Cindy has a strong background in diagnostic imaging and enterprise solutions. Her experience ranges from PACS to project management, implementations and consulting. Prior to her roles with McKesson, she worked in the health care setting as a director of imaging as well as a radiology technologist with additional licensing in MRI.