The following is the third installment of a four-part blog series on vendor neutral archives (VNAs). If you missed the earlier installments, click on the links for Post 1
and Post 2.
It’s safe to say that Electronic Health Record (EHR) adoption has happened in the U.S. The trend started long ago and accelerated thanks in part to the HITECH Act
and ‘meaningful use.’ And while we may not all agree on why
it happened or what fueled it, EHR adoption levels in the U.S. are quite high and continue to grow globally as well.
Interoperability is at the forefront of the fast-paced health IT industry, and medical imaging is one of its key components. Having an efficient imaging strategy in place is imperative, not only for revenue growth, but also for providing effective patient care. Although imaging will continue to play a significant role in healthcare, changes to payment models and new quality measurements raise questions about imaging appropriateness. Some estimates suggest that as many as 30% of all images are unnecessary. The first step in improving both imaging efficiency and appropriateness is to invest in an adequate interoperability strategy.
While only a fool would claim that he could say with absolute certainty what the future holds, it doesn’t take fortune teller to see that success in the healthcare industry will increasingly favor the “connected” over the “disconnected.” In fact, a recent survey
found that 85% of industry stakeholders expect mergers and acquisition activity to increase in 2015 – meaning the newly created entities need to communicate and share data, including imaging information, efficiently and appropriately to ensure financial and clinical success.
Consider how most medical image ordering and fulfillment typically takes place today. Most referring physicians usually fill out a requisition form and either give it to the patient or fax it to an imaging center. The imaging center then enters the order into its radiology information system
(RIS) and contacts the patient to schedule the exam. Upon completing the exam, the imaging center then uses fax or point-to-point interfaces to transmit the results back to the referring physician’s office, where it is then routed to the patient’s electronic health record (EHR).
Take a look around the healthcare landscape, and you’re likely to pick out three major trends that are disrupting the industry as we know it today: consolidation as a result of mergers and acquisitions
, the emergence of electronic health records (EHRs) and the demand for greater connectivity among providers and patients. Let’s assess how these are driving the demand for advanced interoperability in medical imaging.