Enterprise Imaging Blog

The Top Trends Driving Demand for Interoperability in Medical Imaging
Alternate text Posted by Jon DeVries on 8/27/2014 7:28:00 AM

The Top Trends Driving Demand for Interoperability in Medical Imaging
Take a look around the healthcare landscape, and you’re likely to pick out three major trends that are disrupting the industry as we know it today: consolidation as a result of mergers and acquisitions, the emergence of electronic health records (EHRs) and the demand for greater connectivity among providers and patients. Let’s assess how these are driving the demand for advanced interoperability in medical imaging.

Take a look around the healthcare landscape, and you’re likely to pick out three major trends that are disrupting the industry as we know it today: consolidation as a result of mergers and acquisitions, the emergence of electronic health records (EHRs) and the demand for greater connectivity among providers and patients. Let’s assess how these are driving the demand for advanced interoperability in medical imaging.

Consolidation. Hospitals, clinics, physician practices and other specialty groups are consolidating into larger accountable care organizations, health information exchanges and other entities at a dizzying pace. According to FierceHealthFinance, hospital mergers and acquisitions have sharply increased since passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), with more than twice as many deals in 2012 as 2009. Reasons for this increase include the ACA's incentives to provide more efficient, high-quality care and a desire for security, and medical imaging is no exception to the same pressures. While M&A can help an organization achieve clinical and economic scale, it also creates a more complex organization that drives costs up. Interoperable solutions that tie the pieces together reduce these costs and enable clinical data to flow to the point of care.

The emergence of EHRs. Providers have spent billions of dollars1 over the past few years to deploy such platforms, only to find that much of their patient data is stored in data silos which are not easily accessible to the EHR they believed would relieve them from time-consuming, laborious data entry and management tasks. Many are starting to reconsider their technologies to better meet their needs of a more efficient and accessible system.

Greater connectivity among providers. This particular trend is closely related to the second item above, as many—if not most—patients see multiple providers in different locations to address their healthcare needs. With the growing focus on accountable care shared savings and patient engagement, each physician requires a degree of access to the patient’s complete medical record, a record that is likely stored in bits and pieces at various institutions, clinics and practices. Combining, storing and obtaining these disparate bits of information is a tedious task, at best, for most provider organizations and patients.

Fortunately, there are technologies available today that address the challenges inherent in all three market drivers. For instance, Merge Interoperability Solutions enable enterprise imaging and greater interoperability among patients, providers and payers. Indeed, interoperable solutions can go a long way in simplifying operations and reducing costs for organizations of all sizes. By virtue of such components as vendor neutral archives, zero-download viewers, image sharing services, cloud storage, advanced imaging networks and other tools working together, providers are now enabled to communicate, share and store patient data seamlessly both inside and outside of their four walls across the entire continuum of care.

With the wide array of choices and complexity now at hand, there’s no doubt that we’re no longer living in “your father’s healthcare world.” But enterprise-wide solutions that enable advanced interoperability are proving to be effective at simplifying and taming them for providers and patients alike.

How are you meeting the needs of interoperability in medical imaging?

 

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Enterprise Imaging Blog

Our blog covers topics related to medical images, including how to safely and securely archive, manage and share these important pieces of medical information. We also discuss issues related to imaging, such as industry trends, government regulation, reimbursement changes and much more.

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