A regional health information exchange is expanding capabilities beyond just sharing information to enabling providers to exchange radiological images.

HealtheConnections, a regional health information exchange serving 11 counties in central and northern New York, is collaborating with eHealth Technologies, which develops image enabled health information exchange solutions, to provide the new capabilities.

The service will enable providers to access imaging studies available in its HIE for downloading and collaborative sharing with their own radiology systems, called picture archiving and communication systems. The capability, called “Transfer-to-PACS” is designed to alleviate the inefficiencies associated with sharing imaging studies.

Bloomberg file photo

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Making it easier to share radiology imaging studies is vital to accurately diagnosing and treating patients. In the past, it’s been difficult and expensive for healthcare providers to exchange imaging studies, often requiring patients to carry CD-ROMs with their images to medical appointments.

Transfer-to-PACS is embedded as a core capability of the RHIO, removing time-consuming manual steps providers typically use to access, download and share images, says Gary Larson, executive vice president and general manager of HIE Solutions for eHealth Technologies.

By embedding image exchange within HIE services, HealtheConnections provides hospitals and imaging centers with access to all imaging studies for patients across Central New York. Radiologists and support staff are able to access the HIE and select external studies of interest with a single click, seamlessly reconciling and transferring information into their own PACS.

The approach also will:

  • Increase automation and result in in more efficient workflows.
  • Facilitate exchanges through fully automated request, receipt, approval and reconciliation of transferred imaging studies.
  • Ensure patient identities across all participating locations are managed by the RHIO.
  • Enable determination of whether patients have consented to have caregivers access radiological studies.

“We receive more than 200,000 imaging studies a month from 29 hospitals and independent radiology centers. The ability to review, share and now download imaging studies is a valued service to our providers. It improves efficiency, resulting in better patient care,” said Rob Hack, president and CEO of HealtheConnections.

“Since implementing Transfer-to- PACS, our workflow has become more efficient than ever,” said Obie Burger of K&A Radiologic Technology Services. “There is no more time wasted while waiting around for images to be sent to our office on discs. Instead, we can pull up prior results in the HIE and compare them immediately to the new images.”

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