DICOM Storage and Patients: It’s About Access to Their Own Images
The DICOM storage process is evolving. When health information exchanges were first coming into play in the healthcare industry, there was a lot of focus on setting the foundation right, establishing connectivity and coming up with standards that lead to sustainability. As nearly everyone in the industry has gotten onboard, we’re finding that the amount of data being captured is nothing short of staggering.
Some of the most important information a healthcare provider can have access to is medical imaging. DICOM storage today is getting more attention on the ability of healthcare technology to share between disparate institutions or even from department to department. For institutions with traditional PACS, this ability to share is often severely hampered.
Looking specifically at how one healthcare institution approached DICOM storage, we find that a pioneer in HIE became one of the first in the state of Delaware to adopt a better image sharing technique. Delaware Health Information Network (DHIN) went live in May 2007 with its HIE. It successfully linked so many of the hospitals information lines together, but knew it also needed to think about adding imaging to the mix.
The process took quite an extensive look into the image-enabled electronic health record providers. They focused on vendor neutral archives that had the best technology and integration capabilities they would need to efficiently share images across departments. They wanted a vendor that would offer multimodality image access. This would allow their physicians access to images they need to see from just about any device.
DICOM storage doesn’t only need to give these healthcare providers the quick and easy access to images – it also has to be secure. Providers are looking for strength in the way they provide health records and images. The question isn’t if you will provide images, the question is what you can share and how quickly.
Providers are looking for ease of use and a system that will provide as close to 100 percent uptime as possible. Patients also need access to their images. Instead of traveling from doctor to doctor and specialist to specialist with a CD of their images, patients should only be armed with a secure URL that opens a viewer. From this viewer their provider can make a diagnosis and prescribe a treatment program to remedy the health issue.
In some cases, the patient’s CD that they carry from the radiologist to their provider will contain corrupted information, which means they have to make another appointment to get their images. Patients need to be empowered and become participants in their recovery. They shouldn’t be required to only go to providers with the right hardware and software to view their images. All they need is a secure connection and the URL.
OffSite Image Management, Inc., is helping to put the DICOM storage issues that healthcare providers have had to rest. They’re also devising solutions that empower the patients who just want to get the best care they can possibly get.