What Happened at Cottage Hospital? Radiology Information System Tale with a Happy Ending
A New Hampshire-based critical access hospital called Cottage Hospital was able to save more than $100,000 over three years – all because of the adoption of new interface engine technology.
With only 25 beds, Cottage Hospital is like many other critical care facilities throughout the nation in rural communities that has limited resources, both in personnel and funds. Saving $100,000 for hospitals of this size represents a major win.
In Cottage Hospital’s case, they are seen as a great model for health information exchange and how to pull it off with a lack of resources. Unlike a majority of healthcare providers in the country, Cottage has actually fulfilled its requirements to meet Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements.
The success story started three years ago when hospital staff began looking at various interface engine technologies and finally chose one that was intuitive, scalable and offered a short learning curve. In 2012, Cottage went live with its new technology, which helped integrate various other technologies across the facility. Due to this integration, they have quick access to information that is critical for clinicians in their decisions regarding healthcare procedures. The result is a more efficient patient care process and improved quality initiative.
Coming into compliance with Stage 2 requirements is not an easy task, especially considering how it affects providers’ picture archiving and communication systems (PACS). Many providers are struggling with their ability to live up to the requirement where radiologists must supply a detailed report of medical imaging procedures to the patient within 24 hours of the actual procedure. For many providers, this will push their PACS to its limit – asking more of it than it can actually accomplish.
Updating the radiology information system is something every healthcare provider has at least given thought to and at most has integrated new technology to their practices that are in line with Stage 2 requirements. It’s not a small feat, especially for the rural providers that struggle to find technology that fits the job as well as the budget. What many of them want is something that’s scalable, that affordable but also allows them to offer patients the care they deserve.
One way around the myriad challenges providers face is to adopt a vendor neutral archiving system (VNA) that allows them to share medical images easily across disparate systems. Radiology information systems are a popular target for VNA-driven technologies, especially considering the amount of information that needs to be shared between physicians who might be in different departments or at different facilities all together.
In fact, VNA is called the “only solution” to the emerging image sharing connectivity and accessibility needs that so many hospitals and clinics are facing as they strive to meet new requirements. Some differing definitions of VNA exist, but a vendor neutral archive that’s functioning as it was designed to function should be able to shift, move and migrate image data within any PACS. The key is finding PACS vendors and VNA providers who are customer-focused, and have the end goal of seamless, efficient workflow and image sharing for the good of the patient and the organization — with collaboration at the core of the project.
VNA works with all types of data, like images from CT scans to MRIs. One company that has stepped up to offer solutions that work is OffSite Image Management, Inc. Working to ease the problems of the rural, critical access facilities, OffSite has developed a quality solution that is effective and affordable. Radiology information system solutions don’t have to be massively expensive and so technically complicated that those with few resources can’t handle them. OffSite’s solution is scalable and works for providers who want to pay as they go. Check us out online today and see how our solutions will fit with your problems.