Telemedicine is a vital component in delivering effective healthcare — particularly to those in outlying areas. Telemedicine also offers opportunities to capture efficiencies in collaborative workflows for viewing medical imaging.
When one university medical center wanted to find ways to be more effective in delivering care to possible stroke patients in outlying areas, it went in search of a solution that would support viewing and collaborating on images more easily, regardless of location.
Overcoming obstacles with PACS traffic, clinical workflow and image sharing
The university was looking for solutions to better support televiewing, but they were also looking to resolve some other standing challenge.
Surmounting slow, inefficient PACS
Traditional PACS experience heavy traffic from the pre-fetching of prior studies and other non-diagnostic viewing requests. To reduce that traffic burden and make it easier for clinicians and staff to share images and collaborate, the university wanted to adopt a zero-footprint universal enterprise diagnostic image viewer. This would also free up IT staff from managing local client installs — which can be particularly challenging when supporting outlying communities.
Avoiding the avalanche of imaging CDs
Like many others that serve their communities, this university medical center received tens of thousands of patient CDs every year from hundreds of outside facilities. Clinicians were forced to wait as images were manually imported from the CDs — and then wait for patient demographics to be manually matched. Using VPNs as an alternative approach to the CD-sharing process created bottlenecks and incurred significant overhead. As these delays could delay patient care, a better approach was needed.
Overcoming medical research obstacles
Medical researchers in the university wanted the ability to upload, access and share imaging studies and other data while also segregating this information from active patient data and content. Researchers would sometimes turn to freeware applications that were not designed for this purpose and also posed security risks. The freeware tools were mostly client-server applications that tied a researcher to a specific workstation and prohibited access to images in other locations or devices.