By Jason Howie, Director of Demand Generation and Operations, Ambra Health
When was the last time you used a CD? Medical imaging is still very much stuck in the land of CDs & legacy PACS despite CDs being a rarely used medium in today’s world. Given the rate of consolidation across healthcare networks and mergers among radiology facilities, many facilities are also attempting to merge imaging data across multiple locations. Physicians find themselves logging into multiple systems to access medical imaging both current and prior. Earlier this year, a new rule issued by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology stated that patients should be the actors and not “acted upon” when it comes to their medical records. For facilities with data living in multiple systems, the lack of interoperability and integration of medical imaging with other systems makes it very difficult to produce a holistic patient health record and offer patients easy access.
For patients, the experience starts the moment they walk into an office and are greeted by front desk staff. Wasting time searching for an old CD, struggling to upload the images, or letting a patient know that their images are inaccessible for any reasons is a less than ideal way to start any visit.
This is where cloud vendors can come together to create holistic solutions. Integrating imaging within the EHR eliminates the need to login to separate systems and toggle between browsers. With cloud-based solutions, system upgrades, maintenance, and storage are standard and managed by the vendors which allow physicians to focus more time on patients. Organizations also gain improved backup, availability, and overall business continuity.
So, how does it work? With Ambra Health and DrChrono, a patient’s medical images are right alongside other types of data like payer information, medical history, allergies, labs, all within the existing portal. The patient’s complete study list is embedded within the patient jacket and supported by Ambra’s open-API infrastructure. Meaning, once logged in to the platform, users are not required to log in to separate accounts, install separate software, or open separate applications in order to view the studies. Clicking on the patient’s study immediately launches the Ambra medical image viewer.
The consolidation of imaging also provides a new world for collaboration. Right from Ambra Health, physicians can share imaging through a series of secure web-links. They can send a branded version of the imaging portal directly to referring physicians or patients. Opening the lines of communication and collaboration can provide a whole new world of referrals, revenue-driving programs like a second opinion platform, and most importantly, offer patients access to their own imaging data.