Image Sharing Deserves More Attention

These days, data sharing and interoperability are on everyone’s mind — heck, even consumers have at least a vague sense that records should travel electronically between their providers — but discussions of how to share images don’t always make the headlines.

The truth is, though, we ought to be paying closer attention to these issues. What’s the point of shunting, say, lab data from place to place if we aren’t taking care to share diagnostic images as well?  OK, I admit data sharing is critical, but it’s a shame that image management isn’t getting nearly as much attention.

I was reminded of this today when I got a press release from a vendor selling imaging and interoperability solutions. The release, which came from Chicago-based Merge Healthcare, announced that the region’s Children’s Memorial Hospital was planning to install its iConnect suite.

iConnect includes a vendor-neutral image archive and a DICOM and XDS viewer which will also allow users of any Web-enabled device review images. The same viewer will permit varied facilities review images without the need for new equipment, the vendor said.

Please note that I’m not endorsing Merge or iConnect as such. I don’t have much knowledge of image management per se, and I wouldn’t be able to tell you which products are likely to be leaders in this space.

Still, I’m happy to toss out a mention here, as I believe it’s important to understand what vendors in this space offer. And I’ll be interested to see what competing vendors like Siemens — which just released clinical image sharing system syngo.share — come up with over the next few years.

From what I’ve seen, EHR developers out there aren’t paying particularly close attention to this problem. (They probably can’t be the ones to solve it, after all. They’ve got plenty of other issues to handle.)  So I’ll be keeping an eye on image management — for while it may not be sexy, it’s definitely important. How about you?

About the author

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

2 Comments

  • You’ve highlighted a key issue here, and one that will affect radiologists, PACS administrators, people who run radiology imaging centers, and CIOs. It’s vital everybody figure out how to get meaningful use bonuses (and avoid the penalties).
    This is especially a challenge for radiologists, who often work in several sites and can’t rely on just one site to figure out how they would get their meaningful use bonus.

    Here’s an example of how one academic center is doing image sharing, at UC San Diego for trauma cases:

    http://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/newsrel/health/04-12CloudComputing.asp

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