Driving across Interstate 90 from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, it’s tempting to drive faster than the 75 mph speed limit. The road is ramrod straight and visibility seems infinite. I turned north at the Corn Palace in Mitchell and watched another 50 miles of vast cattle ranches and crop fields fly by. Even the highway intersections, what few exist, have right turns artfully curved to favor a pedal-down semi- or pickup.
Things slowed to a more reasonable tempo when I got to main street in Huron. With 12,600 residents, Huron is about the ninth largest city in the state. Although home to the South Dakota State Fair, it happens to be pheasant season right now and a big sign says, “Hunters Welcome.”
I met up with Chad Moser, the PACS Administrator and MRI Technologist at Huron Regional Medical Center (HRMC). He and his team handle about 20,000 exams each year with the non-profit, 25 bed facility.
I was particularly interested in Chad’s recent transition to use of Centricity PACS with Universal Viewer, the Zero Footprint Viewer (ZFP) version, for their imaging needs.
Chad is plain-spoken and clearly in touch with the fundamentals of his community’s healthcare. They share some healthcare provider challenges with the rest of country, including the affordable care act, Medicare/Medicaid reimbursements and changing reimbursement models with their payers. But he also has challenges unique to his geography.
“We’re continually in competition with some of the larger hospitals and bigger cities. And with patients taking more interest in their healthcare, we need to provide equal to, or better healthcare right here in Huron,” he said.
Chad keeps a laser focus of how the role of technology links directly to that patient experience.
“I know that I can get the best images from our machines. We’ve invested a lot of money in these machines. But if we can’t get images to the doctor, then we lose out – and the patients lose out, ultimately. We want to get those images off our machines, and into the doctor’s offices, no matter where they’re at,” he said.
That’s what got us talking about Huron Regional Medical Center’s recent transition to a Zero Footprint Viewer (ZFP).
“When a patient shows up at a doctor’s office and sees how easily that doctor was able to launch the x-rays that they had across town, almost immediately after they’ve had them done, then they gain confidence in our system. HRMC looks good. And better than that, they have images that can help to make informed decisions on their healthcare. That kind of confidence in our hospital keeps their care local.”
Remote access to images isn’t new, but Chad points out the rapid disbursement model of the Zero Footprint Viewer and HTML5 compatibility.
“What makes my life easier as a PACS administrator is that with Universal Viewer ZFP, I can count on the image being launched correctly out of most browsers, and machines that the doctors are using to access the EHR for these patients. A lot of times people want to look at images on a Mac®. Often times there are different browsers in different places, and you can never tell everybody to have the same internet browser. We know the images are still going to come up. It’s going to give them the images right there with the patient.”
And Chad sees value in the ZFP usability.
“Universal Viewer is very intuitive. The tools are very basic, but they’re the tools you need. They’re right there, they’re easy to pick up and they’re easy to learn. Users can easily access any series they want. With 3D datasets, they can rotate them around and they can cut any angle they want through them for reformatting, That’s very helpful to get a better view, another look, another perspective that only the radiologist had before. And now that the physician can actually use those tools, it can be helpful to them,” he explained.
During several hours of conversation at the Huron Regional Medical Center, Chad invariably brought conversation threads back to the importance of local patient care. He and his team clearly appreciate new technology – but always with an eye to healthcare outcomes.
“Patients know that when they get to their doctor’s office, the images are going to be there. They don’t have to carry a CD, they don’t have to carry a report – the image or report they need is going to be there and the doctor is going to be able to access that,” Chad summarized once again as we wrapped up.
I plan to write more about outcomes that benefit local healthcare like this in the future – please share your ideas with me here.
For now, be encouraged in all that you do!
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