Cloud-based image platform aids kidney transplant process

Ambra Health, which operates a cloud-based medical data and imaging platform, is able to save kidney transplant coordinators 1,400 hours per year by enabling them to upload images to the cloud.

Using the cloud to share images makes them accessible in near real-time to all 80 transplant centers across the country, which in turn lowers the rates at which matches for waiting patients are cancelled during the kidney donation process.

Ambra Health’s platform works with hospitals and private practice providers to help manage image exchange, storage and access issues. Image typically exchanged include X-rays, CT, MRI and other kinds of diagnostic imaging.

The imaging platform has been used by the National Kidney Registry, enabling providers to upload and transfer kidney donor and recipients information in a matter of minutes to the necessary team members, when it used to take at least 10 days. Each study could have as many as 4,000 images that need to be uploaded and shared.

“The way we did this for the first eight years was, unfortunately, transplant coordinators had to go to the radiology group, get a copy of a CD with all these images on them and then (use expedited shipping services to send it) to the recipient centers,” says Joe Sinacore, director of education and development at The National Kidney Registry.

Kidney transplants are normally scheduled three weeks in advance, and during that time, transplant centers and hospitals work on exchanging donor and recipient information. Using CDs with images made it harder to upload and enable provide access, and that took longer for problems in the donor match to be recognized, which could ultimately cancel the entire procedure.

“When you are waiting for a kidney transplant, adding on another month of being on dialysis was sometimes detrimental to people’s health. So now the imaging comes directly from the hospital where the donor is having that done, it goes directly into the Ambra platform and so it is available in near real-time to the transplant team and others who need to view that to make sure the match is accurate,” says Mini Peiris, chief marketing officer for Ambra Health.

NKR uses Ambra Health to do their paired kidney exchange, their technique of helping overcome incompatibilities for creating living-donor transplants with patients and donors. A large pool of donor-recipient pairs are connected with NKR’s matching system, enabling each person to benefit. Each chain of donor-recipient pairs could involve as many as 10 patients.

“That same day, both donors go to surgery and the kidneys are taken out packed on ice, shipped across the country and implanted into the paired-donor recipients and in both parties their recipients get to go home with a good kidney transplant, says Sinacore.

More than 400 of these chains were created through paired kidney exchange and NKR has transplanted over 2,200 of these patients.

“Our goal is to continue to expand that adoption, so that you as a patient can move seamlessly from one provider to the next, and the provider themselves are seeing the ability to more efficiently manage their imaging data stores,” says Peiris.

Ambra Health received the Terasaki award from NKR for its electronic medical image exchange solution that optimizes the potential kidney donor review process as part of a joint collaboration with GE Healthcare, VasoHealthcare IT and Rackspace.

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