by Paul Atkinson, Marketing Community Manager, Intelerad
SIIM is just under two weeks away, and looking at the program guide on their homepage, it’s going to be fantastic meeting. With an abundance of thought-provoking topics, I’m anticipating that there will be a host of presentations that will play key roles in shaping the way we think about medical imaging.
Having reached out to people on Twitter to see what interests our followers most, I received a response saying that they would like to see how the radiology community is adapting to change within the industry. I can’t help but think that this feeling is widespread, given the constant evolution and the affect of items such as policy implementation (for example, healthcare reform and the implementation of meaningful use), to industry initiatives such as Imaging 3.0.
Regardless of how you feel about such changes, they are ever-present and will no doubt be the topic of many conversations at the show. Hopefully, I’ll be able to report back on the thoughts of the radiology community following the conference.
Another Twitter response was in regards to innovation. Personally, I’m excited about this as well. Technological advancements are playing a key role in the industry’s evolution. From facilitating organizational growth to driving radiologists’ individual performance, to clinical decision support to improve patient care, radiology solutions are very much a player driving industry change.
On that note, we will have a couple of product announcements at SIIM that I think will turn some heads and make our customers smile. I can’t give away any secrets at this point, so you’ll have to check in with us during SIIM. If you want updates as soon they’re available, be sure to follow us on twitter @Intelerad or follow us on LinkedIn.
If you’d like to meet with Intelerad at SIIM, we can be found at booth 511. Our sales team will be on-hand to provide answers to any questions you may have, and we’ll have a product specialist on-site in case you’d like to receive a demo.
If you’re attending SIIM, let us know in the comments which SIIM 2013 sessions you are looking forward to most.
- Paul Atkinson
by Helene Gey, Vice-President of Marketing, Intelerad
As a solution provider, it’s rewarding when tech-savvy individuals and organizations recognize the value of your offerings and select them to help boost their performance. Being in regular contact with these customers, it’s always interesting to hear why they selected our solutions and how they’ve affected performance across the enterprise.
Over the past month or so, I’ve been in contact with a particular customer who has been a using our solutions for the past eight years (there will be a case study shortly with more details, but I was inspired by the conversation and wanted to share some of what we discussed). The radiology group itself had actually started in Western Australia about 15 years ago, which was followed by the opening of locations in the UK and Ireland. Their growth has been remarkable, having grown to over 100 radiologists on contract.
Having deployed our IntelePACS across their international network, the organization has benefitted a great deal from our solutions’ ease of use, as well as their performance over geographically-distributed locations. In fact, by combining these two things, they’ve been able to open up new offices in little time, helping them to grow faster and respond better to the needs of their customers.
With a number of teleradiologists on board, our customer has also expressed satisfaction from our solution’s ability to quickly transfer images across locations. This helps get images into radiologists hands quickly and also facilitates remote collaboration and peer review when a second opinion is requested.
Rapid image transfer also plays an important role when patients are transferred from local clinics to hospitals. As the patient is physically transferred, the images and reports are made available to the hospital prior to the patient’s arrival. This eliminates the need to conduct a repeat exam, which is considered a clinical incident in the UK.
The conversations have served as a reminder that keen adopters of technology within radiology will always remain ahead of the curve; providing superior service for their healthcare partners in hospitals, private and community medical centers, which ultimately leads to better patient care. It’s a thought that inspires to continue developing innovative solutions.
- Helene Gey
By Anibal Jodorcovsky
A few days ago at Intelerad, some employees began experiencing glitches with their emails due to a connectivity issue with our email servers. Before a workaround could be instituted, the connection was restored and we were back to business as usual. But during those 10 long minutes, there was some uneasiness felt internally.
When a radiologist is working with a software solution and a feature isn’t functioning the way it should, the level of stress and frustration can rise quickly. The reason is simple: it affects the way they function, which therefore affects patient care. Given the complexity of our systems and the environments they’re set in, issues do arise from time to time where our support team needs to step in to make sure everything runs optimally in the shortest possible timeframe.
At Intelerad, we go to great lengths to ensure that our customers receive the best possible support. Not only are we selective in who we hire as support agents and thoroughly train them, but we also design our solutions to provide proactive support through a component that continually monitors our solution, essentially reporting on itself so we know of an issue at the earliest possible interval.
To provide optimal support for existing issues, we also developed our own ticketing system internally. Not only did this allow us to include all the features that we felt were necessary, but it also provides us with a great deal of flexibility. It is always better to be able to come up with processes that we think provide exceptional services, rather than having to adapt our processes to a tool because that tool doesn’t provide the required flexibility.
In its current iteration, our ticketing system can be accessed through our Education and Support Center so you can easily review the progress on any open cases that you may have. Our ticketing system can also be integrated with a customer’s internal ticketing system so the information they need from us can be accessed quickly within their own ecosystem. We’ve done this with a number of customers, who are all quite satisfied with the integration.
In order to facilitate customer self-support, we have a knowledge base in place where customers can access what we call “TechNotes”. Given that our solutions run in complex environments, TechNotes are mainly FAQs and workarounds which are designed to help customers to quickly remedy an issue without having to contact a support agent. Our workarounds are always tested rigorously to ensure quality, and if there any difficulties in applying the workaround, our support team is always available to assist.
At Intelerad, our founders, as well as many of our staff, have worked in hospitals in the past and understand the value of optimal support. It’s ingrained in us, and that’s why we work hard to ensure our customers have access to the industry’s best.
By Helene Gey, Vice-President of Marketing, Intelerad
Since HIMSS took place a few weeks back in New Orleans, there has been a great deal of discussion about interoperability and the role it plays in HIT. In terms of radiology systems, interoperability is still in its nascent form, however, it is already proving to be of unquestionable value.
Interoperability, as defined by ISO/IEC 2382-01, makes one capable to communicate, execute programs, or transfer data among various functional units in a manner that requires the user to have little or no knowledge of the unique characteristics of those units. An example of this would be a radiologist at an imaging center using a single interface to read studies that are stored across a host of PACS, built by different vendors and located within a number of different facilities.
In other words, unified access to information stored in disparate PACS, RIS and EMR systems.
In an increasingly demanding market, this provides a distinct competitive advantage: for imaging enterprises, it facilitates the recruitment of new customers, as such solutions are generally able to index and access studies in other systems, alleviating the complications associated with accessing disparate systems and makes them easy to read for. In certain cases, we’ve seen this result in substantial growth at a time when imaging centers were seeing an overall decline in business.
Interoperability also provides tremendous value to individual radiologists as it positively influences the way they work. Primarily, radiologists are able to greatly decrease the time needed access the studies (or other information) they need, which allows them to increase the speed at which they turnaround studies.
To further increase radiologists’ productivity, interoperable solutions also provide a consistent reading station and workflow, so they are always working with an interface that they are both familiar and comfortable with. Furthermore, having the ability to access customer’s systems provides them with a more complete view of patients’ priors, and other relevant medical data, thus improving the quality of care they provide.
With a plethora of systems flooding the market, and mergers and acquisitions happening at an increased frequency, solutions that provide interoperability between image management systems are becoming more of a necessity. In fact, some would suggest that given the nature of the industry, that it’s quickly becoming a standard.
Intelerad is regarded as a pioneer in interoperability for radiology solutions due to their InteleOne solution, which streamlines medical imaging workflows from disparate PACS, HIS, RIS into a unified reading solution, with one common viewer and worklist, providing seamless access to all studies, including priors, regardless of location. You can learn more about this solution by clicking on the link below. You can obtain a copy of the KLAS Innovation Review on InteleOne by clicking here.
If you have any questions or comments about interoperability, please don’t hesitate to use the text box below.
by Helene Gey, Vice-President of Marketing, Intelerad
Every day, countless patients consult with a physician who recommends they visit a radiologist to receive a scan. Regardless of why the scan has been ordered, this is the beginning of the patient journey, which will inevitably be reflected on by the patient as either a positive or negative experience.
In Canterbury, New Zealand, the District Health Board (DHB) has gone to great lengths to improve the patient experience by increasing the speed of health care delivery, while maintaining a high level of quality. On the radiology front, this is being achieved thanks to the deployment of some key solutions.
Some quick background: As a large-scale health organization, Canterbury DHB provides a complete range of radiology services to three local hospitals on a 24 hour a day, seven day a week basis; secondary and tertiary services to residents of Canterbury and New Zealand’s South Island; and limited service to referrals from local physicians and specialists.
In regards to the number of full-time employees, Canterbury DHB has 16 radiologists, 14 registrars, over 50 radiographers and sonographers, and 10 nurses. Also, as an established teaching training center, they provide undergraduate and post-graduate medical training with specific training programs for radiology registrars.
Needless to say, Canterbury DHB is a busy place. So how did their radiology department effectively improve the patient journey? The main item was actively removing bottlenecks so the individual could move smoothly through the health care delivery process. To do so, the organization deployed a solution that provided them with seamless archiving, distributing and secure sharing of images and reports, which is ideal for the immediate transmission of studies and reports between a radiology group and multiple hospitals.
Aside from instant access to the information they need, Canterbury DHB have also seen substantial productivity gains from using an integrated workflow and universal worklist, as well as an advanced viewer module.
For patients, the smoothness of Canterbury DHB’s workflow, and the efficiency they’ve gained, provide benefit as it reduces the time needed to diagnose and provide treatment. This stands out even more in cases where patients use both the public and private healthcare system during their course of treatment; not only are studies easier to exchange between the health centers, but it allows physicians to follow the patient’s journey and avoid conducting repeat studies.
To learn more about how Canterbury DHB is improving the patient journey, I recommend having a look at their recently-published case study, which includes a video interview with Dr. Sean Skea, Canterbury DHB’s Chief of Radiology at Christchurch Hospital. Some highlights include how they manage their radiologists’ workloads, and how they bridge the gap between the public and private health care systems. It can be found here.
- Helene Gey
By Helene Gey, Vice-President of Marketing, Intelerad
As I mentioned on this blog a couple of weeks ago, radiologists’ workloads are getting heavier with each passing year. On top of the need for them to conduct more readings, there is also increased pressure to raise the bar in terms of the quality of care they deliver. So basically the demand is for radiologists to not only do more work, but ensure it’s of a higher caliber as well. It’s a tall order; however it’s an objective that is definitely achievable.
We’re all aware of how radiology solutions can drive efficiency, but what about enhancing the quality of work? Under the ‘patient first’ theme at RSNA, it was widely discussed that collaboration plays a significant role in the delivery of superior care. As solutions continue to evolve, additional features and functionality to facilitate collaboration are becoming more readily available.
But what if you’re is not considering a PACS upgrade in the near future? Right now, hospital budgets are tight and if you’re only halfway through a five- or six-year contract, odds are you’ll have to live with your systems’ limitations instead of replacing your entire PACS infrastructure. However, doing so means operating at a competitive disadvantage, which could be quite detrimental to your organization.
What exactly are the limitations of using older PACS? For individual radiologists, it limits the way they can share images and reports; obtain a second opinion and interact with referring physicians. For an entire department, balancing workloads amongst staff becomes more difficult – in other words, limiting the collaborative capabilities of the department as a whole, which limits overall productivity.
Thankfully, there’s a way to leverage the collaborative features and benefits of the most up-to-date radiology solutions without having to replace your entire PACS.
For some time now, we’ve been working on ways to integrate new solutions into existing PACS as a way to revitalize older systems that aren’t set for replacement. In essence, this is achieved by layering new technologies on top of existing architecture to provide you with the most up-to-date features and functionality that you require to succeed.
For a hospital looking to facilitate their radiologists’ collaborative capabilities , our add-on solutions provide universal worklists, remote reading capabilities, a universal viewer and a referring physician portal. On top of that, our solutions are renowned for their performance in distributed environments, which is ideal when seeking a second opinion from a radiologist who is located in a different city or state.
For an organization, being able to add the features and functionality of a modernized PACS allows for the life of your existing systems to be extended. So not only means that you can delay the purchase of a new PACS until you’re ready, but in doing so, you also maximize the investment made in your original infrastructure.
If you have any questions about how we can help you create a collaborative environment without replacing your existing systems, feel free to use the comment box below. If you’re looking for in-depth information, contact us here.
- Helene Gey
By Helene Gey, Vice-President of Marketing, Intelerad
Late last year, we were presented with a unique challenge: a brand-new, state-of-the-art radiology facility was opening fifteen minutes away from our head office, for which a host of radiology solutions would be needed. We met with the group, Radiologie DIX30, several times to discuss their needs and provide in-depth information on the solutions we could provide them.
In the end, they chose to deploy IntelePACS. This was great news, however the selection came with a caveat – IntelePACS would have to be live in time for the center’s January opening. This left us with just a condensed timeframe to deploy and integrate the solution so the center’s radiologists could start reading. Thankfully, some key factors played into our favor, including:
- The technical knowledge and abilities of our services team.
- Close proximity to the imaging center, which allowed our team to work directly on-site and meet face-to-face with the hardware integrators and other solution providers.
- No data migration would need to take place as the center was brand new.
Taking advantage of these circumstances, we were able deploy IntelePACS successfully, and Radiologie DIX30 opened as planned, in January of this year.
Last week, some of our staff attended Radiologie DIX30’s grand opening, where they received a tour of the facility and met with their staff to get an update on the center’s progress. So far, everything is moving along in smooth order, as they continue to establish themselves and work towards becoming the region’s leading imaging center.
In speaking with Dr. Pierre Bergeron, Radiologist and Medical Director at the center, and Sylvie Cholette, Radiologie DIX30’s Administrative Director, I’m happy to report that their staff is quite satisfied with their Intelerad solutions.
In conversation, Dr. Bergeron noted that the solution is user-friendly and performs strongly both on-site and remotely, which is ideal for their radiologists who work at various centers throughout the course of a week. For Ms. Cholette, having IntelePACS in place provides peace of mind as the solution is known for its reliability, and is backed up by strong support team.
Deploying IntelePACS was a good test of our services team’s capabilities, and everyone is proud with what they were able to achieve. In regards to Radiologie DIX30, their modern facility is remarkable and we looking forward to working with them in the years to come.
There is a video interview with Dr. Bergeron (available in French only) here.