Non-net­work cloud-based ra­di­ol­ogy of­fers bet­ter ap­proach

Modern Healthcare - - COMMENT -

The ar­ti­cle “Pro­po­nents see cloud tech­nol­ogy trans­form­ing ra­di­ol­ogy” (Oct. 6, p. 17) presents an in­ter­est­ing use of cloud-based ra­di­ol­ogy, backed with prac­ti­cal ex­am­ples of net­works that are em­ploy­ing this model. Be­cause the model en­com­passes cloud-based file stor­age and ex­change, it seems at first blush to be a sig­nif­i­cant ad­vance beyond cloud-based ex­change ser­vices.

How­ever, I be­lieve that the cloud-based ser­vice for med­i­cal in­for­ma­tion ex­change that our fa­cil­i­ties have been us­ing since 2010 has fewer lim­i­ta­tions than—and sev­eral ad­van­tages over— the model the ar­ti­cle dis­cusses.

The pri­mary lim­i­ta­tion of the model in the ar­ti­cle is that the cloud-based stor­age sys­tem has limited ac­cess. That is, ac­cess to images and files is re­stricted to mem­bers of the net­work and fur­ther re­stricted by what­ever con­trac­tual re­la­tion­ships that bind the net­work.

That net­work may be quite large, such as the 200 mem­bers the ar­ti­cle por­trays. But the ar­ti­cle of­fers a rel­a­tively limited view of what’s pos­si­ble when lever­ag­ing cloud-based tech­nol­ogy. This sce­nario does not ben­e­fit pa­tients and/or care­givers out­side that net­work. For us, the cloud has opened un­lim­ited op­por­tu­ni­ties for ad hoc non­con­trac­tual col­lab­o­ra­tion among col­leagues, whether or not we be­long to the same net­work and re­gard­less of ge­o­graphic con­sid­er­a­tions, and in­de­pen­dent of soft­ware plat­forms used.

Sup­pose a mem­ber of the net­work de­scribed in the ar­ti­cle con­fronts this every­day sce­nario: A new pa­tient is ad­mit­ted to the hos­pi­tal with imag­ing stud­ies rel­e­vant to their case—but the images and re­ports re­side at a non-net­work fa­cil­ity. Some out-ofnet­work means will have to be em­ployed to make that in­for­ma­tion avail­able to the hos­pi­tal so the pa­tient can be treated in a timely man­ner.

Our en­ter­prise and oth­ers lever­age a ven­dor-neu­tral cloud-based ser­vice to sat­isfy this re­quire­ment. We can send imag­ing stud­ies and re­ports to, or re­ceive files from, any­one in the world at any time over an In­ter­net con­nec­tion, sim­ply by pro­vid­ing a re­cip­i­ent’s e-mail ad­dress. This trans­mis­sion is near real time. The files are trans­mit­ted via a zero down­load ap­pli­ca­tion, and can be ac­cessed by ei­ther a zero down­load viewer or down­loaded into the re­cip­i­ent’s own repos­i­tory and viewed from there. If down­loaded, the files can be ac­cessed and ma­nip­u­lated like any other file, and can also be archived. The trans­mis­sion is HIPAA-com­pli­ant, SSLen­crypted and fully se­cure.

For those of us who have long been ex­chang­ing ra­di­ol­ogy files this way, the cloud-based ra­di­ol­ogy fu­ture is al­ready here.

Dr. Michael Tram­bert Lead ra­di­ol­o­gist for ra­di­ol­ogy in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy Cot­tage Health Sys­tem and San­sum Clinic Santa Bar­bara, Calif.

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