Image handling across department borders—”The clinical gains have been obvious”

Current trends in healthcare call for an image handling strategy for all medical disciplines. Although medical images are used in numerous medical specialties, they are often not stored and distributed in a way that is efficient for the healthcare enterprise. Images constitute an important decision support with a huge cost-savings potential; when handled efficiently, the gains become even clearer.

In this article two customers that has invested in Sectra’s Enterprise Image Management Solution shares their experiences and visions.

Efficient workflow around the patient

Sörmland County Council in Sweden, benefit since 2010 from an enterprise-wide solution for handling images. “We always strive to build an efficient workflow around the patient, from when treatment begins to when it’s completed. Images are taken within a large number of disciplines, but it’s only in the radiology department that most hospitals and clinics have a common system for storing and handling them. With Sectra‘s solution we have increased transparency between different departments and avoid the problem of having images stored in several different systems or in the physicians’ computers, says Cecilia Halvardson, Manager healthcare systems at the IT department at Sörmland County Council. Today, Sörmland County Council uses Sectra’s solution at more than 30 units including radiology, orthopaedics, dermatology, surgical and emergency.

This patient centered vision is shared by Peter Leander, MD, senior physician and regional chief medical officer at Region Skåne, another of Sectra’s customers who also invested in Sectra’s solution for enterprise image management. Leander and his team created a region-wide IT solution that manages and communicates patient information for radiology, dermatology, endocrinology, medicine, and mammography. “Making images and reports available all the time to whatever specialists and caregivers need them was a logical choice”.

“Through Sectra’s solution, we gain IT support that is geographically and organizationally independent and that provides a seamless handling of care processes between both private and public care providers. The information is uniform, coherent, accessible and correct, which contributes to improved and more efficient care. Since only authorized persons are provided access to information, the exchange occurs with retained patient integrity.”

Clinical gains

Since the implementation of Sectra’s solution, Sörmland County Council has experienced significant gains both from the clinician’s perspective and from a patient perspective. “The clinical gains have been obvious,” says Cecilia Halvardsson. Images stored in Sectra PACS are accessible for all authorized users which contributes to improved referral documentation (primary care) and referral results (specialist care). The images can also be used as a complement or for comparison on multi disciplinary team meetings and offer the possibility of teleradiology. Improved referral documentation and results are also beneficial from the patient’s perspective. It is also an advantage that image documentation is available for insurance companies, legal certificates, etc.

Sectra‘s enterprise image management solution ensures that all relevant images are accessible when needed, regardless of format or where in the enterprise they were generated. The application can easily be launched from a HIS or EPR system, and automatically displays the images available for the chosen patient. It also allows authorized users to conveniently add additional images to the patient’s folder. This way the user does not need to log in to several systems or search for images, which will ultimately lead to improved, more effective patient care.

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