Time to go Digital

Embracing better imaging technology leads to better patient care

Tin. Vinyl. Tape. Eight-tracks. Cassettes. CDs. iPods. It’s not just the delivery of music that’s been transformed by technological advancements. It’s also the delivery of diagnostic images. And along with those advancements in diagnostic imaging come improvements in patient care and reductions in healthcare spending. So says David Phillips, director of product management at McKesson Enterprise Medical Imaging,in his contribution to McKesson’s new ebook, The Convergence of Healthcare IT, Radiology & Cardiology.

In his piece, “Radiology PACS Reduces Repeat Procedures per Recent AJR Study,” Phillips cites research that identifies some of the some of the reasons that healthcare providers are not embracing the latest technologies that make the results of diagnostic imaging tests immediately available to all caregivers involved in a patient’s episode of care. Topping that list are legal and financial considerations, according to Phillips.

Consequently, the sharing of images of patients’ diagnostic tests is done primarily by CDs at many healthcare institutions, Phillips says. That standard of practice, however, creates a number of negative safety and financial consequences for patients, providers and payers. Topping the list, according to Phillips, are repeat diagnostic imaging procedures that result from images via CDs not being immediately available to caregivers along the next step in a patient’s care progression.  Repeat diagnostic imaging procedures subject patients to unnecessary radiation exposure and higher costs via unnecessary diagnostic tests.

A better solution would be to make those diagnostic imaging results available to caregivers along the care continuum via PACS, or a picture archiving and communication systems, according to Phillips. Such a system allows caregivers to share images of a patient’s diagnostic test electronically versus a CD.

“Forgoing repeat procedures cut costs as well when images are imported to the radiology PACS for transfer patient,” Phillips says in his article.

Phillips’ column appeared in Medical Imaging Talk, McKesson Corp.’s blog on medical imaging. Read Phillips’ original piece here.

Download McKesson’s new 16-page ebook, The Convergence of Healthcare IT, Radiology & Cardiology.