Image Exchange and Cloud – Familiarize Yourself!

Tom Zimmerman

March Edition 2014

Part 2 of a 3-part series on Image Exchange in the Cloud

Look beyond the Image Link

A well-executed image exchange should actually help strengthen relationships with referring communities as it enhances patient care and satisfaction.  You can read two examples in Part 1 of this series.

Last time I promised to take a broader look at what contributes to the well-executed image exchange just mentioned. As you look beyond the “simple download link,” keep your expectations high.  As I’ll continue to say, we should all aim to accommodate stunning complexity, while delivering intuitively simple interfaces.

Here is more detail on what many professionals are asking for:

  • Zero-Footprint viewing –

The need to access, review and interpret information anytime, anywhere and from any device requires freedom from hardware, software and viewer specifications and shift to client-server visualization architecture. Zero- foot print viewers should help eliminate the need for client side install and work with native browsers to enable real-time viewing of patient data. Expect no administrative rights to access software, and no patient data left behind on the device. This helps to reduce burden on IT staff for managing and maintaining multiple viewer footprints.

  • Security and controls –

Cloud solutions should support security controls at the cloud infrastructure, application and platform level. In a cloud based information exchange set up, patient data needs to be encrypted while at rest and also during transmission from one user to another – using Industry standard security features such as SSL/TLS and Secure DICOM. From a patient data privacy standpoint, cloud vendors should support organizations with HIPAA compliance policies. Further, robust cloud solutions should support auditing and traceability of data and allow organizations to enforce their own enterprise security and patient data sharing policies through scalable user management hierarchy settings.

  • Bi-directional clinical collaboration –

Information exchange, when facilitated in an online collaborative community environment, should support the ability to discuss patient cases, share patients images, results and reports and also rapidly reply to or forward the cases for further consultations or second opinions.  A “social network” look and feel to a cloud based exchange service relieves the clinicians from onerous training requirements and allows for rapid adoption.

  • Flexible deployment options–

Not all HCPs have the luxury of an IT department to undertake and manage solution set-ups. Cloud vendors offering an image exchange solution should offer the flexibility of either self-install and self-activation of services or leverage vendor provided professional services. By their design, user based cloud applications minimize hardware and software footprint, and also offer clear, online instructions to self-install and self-start. But there may be situations, when organizations may require vendor’s support in fast ramp-up of the solution.

  • DICOM integration for seamless exchanges –

Radiologists should have the ability to transfer images while they are reviewing a patient image or study in their system. Seamless integration with PACS allows user credentials and patient context to be automatically passed on to the web application for Image exchange, this eliminating the need to separately sign-on to a separate service and query PACS for patient information.  This integration allows minimal disruption to Radiologists workflow and speedy way to share patient images.

Next up: Analytics capabilities

In Part 3 of this series I’ll take a look at how metrics and analytics are instrumental to enhancing efficiencies and helping to reduce direct and indirect costs.

We’ll be talking more about this in Denver at the Centricity™ Live!  Conference. I hope you’ll join as for dialog and insight at the various “Cloud” sessions.

Be encouraged in all you do!    Tom Z

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