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HIE Partnership to Improve Health Data Exchange of Imaging

A health information exchange provider and developer are joining forces to improve patient care through image transfer technology to benefit New York clinicians.

Health Information Exchange

Source: Thinkstock.

- Syracuse-based regional health information organization HealtheConnections is working with HIE solution developer eHealth Technologies to facilitate exchange of medical images between healthcare providers throughout the state.

The ability to easily access radiology imaging studies is uniquely valuable to accurate diagnosis and patient treatment. While exchanging imaging studies between providers is imperative to quality of care, the process historically has required high costs and considerable time, requiring manual intervention by patients and providers.

HealtheConnections and eHealth Technologies are setting out to enable easy access to imaging studies through its former’s health information exchange platform. Downloading and sharing between providers own radiology systems will be a way to sidestep costs and time-consuming processes. Sharing images between providers’ picture archiving communication systems, dubbed Transfer to PACS, will facilitate more efficient imaging studies exchange. Transfer to PACS is one of the many capabilities now available to providers through HealtheConnection’s growing list of workflows.

"Transfer-to-PACS is embedded as a core capability of the HIE, removing time-consuming manual steps needed to access, download and share images amongst providers," stated Gary Larson, Executive Vice President & General Manager, HIE Solutions, eHealth Technologies. 

HealtheConnections offers hospitals and imaging centers access to all imaging studies for patients across central New York by embedding image exchange within their HIE service.

Some of the benefits of eHealth Connect Image Exchange Transfer-to-PACS include greater automation and more efficient workflows through automated request, management of patient identities across all participating locations to reduce error, and a clear determination regarding whether caregivers are authorized by patient consent.

 "We receive 200,000+ imaging studies a month from 29 hospitals and independent radiology centers.  The ability to review, share and - now download - imaging studies is a valued service to our providers.  It improves efficiency, resulting in better patient care," said HealtheConnections President & CEO Rob Hack.

The advantages of imaging studies exchange are already making a noticeable positive impact on the healthcare community.

"Since implementing Transfer-to- PACS, our workflow has become more efficient than ever," said Obie Burger of K&A Radiologic Technology Services Inc. "There is no more time wasted while waiting around for images to be sent to our office on discs.  Instead, we can pull up prior results in the HIE and compare them immediately to the new images — it must save me three hours per day.  This has made such a tremendous positive impact on the quality of care we provide to our patients."

Several HIE partnerships have recently cropped up to improve facets of patient care in innovative, cost-efficient ways. A collaboration between Lakeland Health System and Great Lakes Health Connect in Michigan to allow EHRs users to query patient immunizations in the Michigan Care Improvement Registry directly.

Providing easier access to the state immunization registry improves clinical efficiency and productivity throughout the health care organizations.

The Lakeland Health System consists of three hospitals, two long-term care facilities, one outpatient surgical center, one cancer center, one hospice residence, and 34 affiliated physician practices across southwest Michigan — all of which now have access to this conveniently accessible technology.

Enabling a query function within existing EHR technology is an unprecedented technological advancement and will encourage a more focused approach to patient-centric technology development in the future.

Efforts to improve patient and provider access to technology pushes the healthcare industry toward streamlined, cost-effective, and time efficient patient care focusing on positive and timely health outcomes. 

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