Today’s hospitals have infrastructure and systems in place so users can share and access electronic patient data. Unfortunately, just because clinicians can share patient data with other providers does not mean they do so. In fact, recent news from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) shows that only 18% of providers use data from outside sources to treat patients.
Why not? According to the ONC survey, 53% say that accessing data from external sources is not integrated into the workflow of their electronic health record (EHR). The missing link in the data sharing equation is the clinician. If they cannot easily access and share patient data within the structure of their workflow, they will not use it to coordinate and improve care.
To bridge the gap between clinician workflow and patient data access, many providers, including Nebraska Medical, Mayo Clinic, Massachusetts General, Intermountain Healthcare and the Department of Veterans Affairs, are turning to mobile devices.
At Nebraska Medical, on-call radiologists can view patient images from iPhones, iPads or laptops using a mobile enterprise image viewer to diagnose from any location. Instead of using a web browser on an off-site desktop system, which can be unreliable, clinicians instead can log in and view images from a mobile app that is accredited for diagnostic use.
“Mobile access takes away the pain of the after-hours consult using my mobile device from wherever I am,” said neuroradiologist Dr. Jason Helvey of Nebraska Medicine.
Enterprise imaging strategies need mobile image viewers
Mayo Clinic recently adopted a mobile strategy to make images easily accessible to practitioners and external referring physicians across the enterprise. With their mobile approach, Mayo’s providers in Minnesota, Arizona and Florida, as well as providers outside of the Mayo network, have simple, real-time access to patient images to collaborate and coordinate patient care.
Previously, Mayo was using an enterprise viewer developed in house which was tested against other enterprise image viewing options. The study’s results showed that a commercial mobile enterprise viewer, ResolutionMD was faster and more effective than both Mayo’s “home grown” viewer and a PACS viewer. Tight integration of the commercial mobile solution with Mayo’s EHR now allows the provider’s clinicians to access patient images of any type from any source without leaving their EHR environment.
This recent shift to a single image viewer reflects an overall shift in health IT strategies to viewers that support enterprise imaging. In the May 2016 issue of The Journal of Digital Imaging, health IT leaders from Duke University and Mayo Clinic lay out the key elements of enterprise imaging to support the systematic management of patient images. One of these elements is the EHR Enterprise Viewer that provides “fast and efficient review and manipulation of image datasets on any desktop, laptop or mobile device.”